|‘Avoid the 13’ to be out in full force on Super Sunday
The Super Bowl is one of America’s most highly anticipated sports events, when friends and family gather in homes, bars and restaurants to celebrate. As game day approaches and football fans across Sonoma County prepare for the game, the National Football League (NFL), the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have joined forces with the Sonoma County Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force to spread the message about designating a sober driver on Super Bowl Sunday.
“Before choosing to drink, choose a sober designated driver. Avoid the unsportsmanlike conduct of driving drunk by handing off your keys so that you, your passengers and everyone on our roads can safely arrive home,” said Petaluma Police Dept. Lieutenant Tim Lyons, who heads the task force that involves 13 law enforcement agencies throughout the county. “Drunk driving is always preventable, and driving drunk could result in seriously injuring or killing yourself or someone else. Motorists can expect Police, Sheriff and CHP to have a visible presence and to stop anyone who makes the dangerous decision to drink and drive.”
Nationally in 2012, alcohol-impaired-driving crashes took 10,322 lives. Californians witnessed 802 deaths in DUI crashes on their streets and highways. These crashes were 31 percent more likely to occur on weekends than on weekdays.
The Sonoma County Avoid the 13 Coalition will be deploying special DUI saturation patrols in communities around the county. Every regularly scheduled patrol officer working will be watching for the tell-tale signs of impaired driving before, during and after the game.
The ‘Avoid’ DUI Task Force offers additional safety tips.
If you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:
• Designate your sober driver, or plan another way to get home safely before the party begins;
• If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay for the night;
• Use your community’s sober ride program;
• And remember, your seat belt is your best defense against a drunk driver in a crash.
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:
• Make sure all your guests designate a sober driver in advance, or arrange for alternate transportation to ensure they get home safely;
• Serve food and include non-alcoholic beverages at the party;
• Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert;
• And keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.