New Year's Eve, the 4th of July and Cinco De Mayo might be your typical drinking holidays, but the AAA of Southern California says Super Bowl Sunday belongs in the DUI major leagues.
According to its analysis of driving fatalities and injuries for a recent 10-year period, "Super Bowl Sunday drinking and driving crashes in California are 75 percent greater than on other comparable Sundays in January and February," the AAA states:
A previous study for a similar period in 2004 found only a 41 percent increase in drunk driving accidents for Super Bowl Sunday.
The latest data shows that Super Bowl Sunday DUIs were to blame 642 fatalities on California roads.
For L.A. county, there was a 55 percent increase in DUI fatalities and injuries on Super Bowl Sunday compared to other winter weekends.
What to do?
AAA senior researcher Steve Bloch:
The Auto Club strongly encourages party goers to designate a sober driver to get them home safely after the game. Education and law enforcement have proven to be effective tools in reducing drinking and driving crashes, but prevention is the best tool of all.
The club has these tips for party hosts:
If hosting a Super Bowl party, be a responsible host. Take car keys from partygoers as they arrive and don't let them drive drunk.
As a host, serve food and non-alcoholic drinks. Serve protein-rich and starchy foods to slow alcohol absorption.
Do not serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.
Stop serving alcohol in the third quarter of the game. Offer more food, coffee, and desserts to party guests.
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If you're an attendee:
Use a designated driver if attending a Super Bowl party.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, too quickly. Eat food and also drink water during the party.
Call a sober friend, family member or a taxi for a ride if you've been drinking. Or, if possible, stay where you are for the night.
Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol - even after just one drink.
Keep a cab company telephone number in your wallet so you can call for a ride home.
If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
If you're under 21, do not consume alcohol. It's against the law.
Buckle your seat belt each time you drive.
Don't be a loser. Be safe.