The blitz is on this Super Bowl weekend when Oregon law enforcement agencies will be part of a nationwide team intensifying efforts and stressing the importance of driving sober to save lives on our highways.
On Wednesday, February 2, 2011, an event to raise awareness about the importance of driving sober was held in Keizer kicking off Oregon's intensified enforcement efforts associated with the national "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk" message. Volunteer drinkers tested by police officers demonstrated the intoxicating effects of alcohol on driving to encourage fans to be a designated driver. This local message complements the national "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk" message supported by the National Football League (NFL), the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the HERO Campaign and Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) Coalition.
"We're reminding everyone that real Super Bowl fans want to make the right call by either volunteering to be or handing the keys to a designated driver, or finding a safe alternative to get home safely without driving under the influence," said Captain Mike Dingeman, director of the Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division.
The "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk" message supports the league-wide designated driver campaign called "Responsibility Has Its Rewards." Celebrating its eighth season in 2010, the campaign encourages fans to participate in designated-driver programs supported by beer and concessionaire companies at every NFL stadium nationwide. Throughout the season at all 31 NFL stadiums, more than 170,000 fans made the responsible decision by pledging to be designated drivers this season.
"Designated drivers make sure everyone gets home safely," said Troy Costales, ODOT's Safety Division administrator. "We are asking all party hosts and bar owners to take extra good care of designated drivers this year. They should be rewarded for taking on such an important responsibility."
According to NHTSA, Super Bowl Sunday has become one of the nation's most dangerous days on the road due to impaired driving. Forty-eight (48) percent of fatalities nationwide on Super Bowl Sunday (12:01 a.m., Sunday, to 5:59 a.m., Monday) involve a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Last year in Oregon there were no traffic fatalities during Super Bowl weekend. Two people died during 2009's Super Bowl weekend, neither of which were in alcohol-involved crashes.
The following are statistics reflect DUII arrests by Oregon State Police troopers and traffic fatalities reported between 12:01 a.m., Saturday, through 5:59 a.m., Monday, during the previous four Super Bowl weekends:
* During the 2010 Super Bowl weekend, there were 0 traffic fatalities and OSP troopers reported 58 DUII arrests
* During the 2009 Super Bowl weekend, there were 2 traffic fatalities and OSP troopers reported 50 DUII arrests
* During the 2008 Super Bowl weekend, there were 5 traffic fatalities and OSP troopers reported 23 DUII arrests
* During the 2007 Super Bowl weekend, there were 2 traffic fatalities and OSP troopers reported 42 DUII arrests
Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, ODOT and MADD stress that designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone's Super Bowl party list. Join their team and report possible intoxicated drivers to 9-1-1 or Oregon State Police dispatch at 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7856).
If you are hosting a Super Bowl party:
* Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in an impaired driving crash.
* Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
* Serve lots of food and include lots of 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.
* Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.
If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant:
* Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
* Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
* 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 where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
* Use your community's Sober Rides programs;
* Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.
Remember, Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk, and always buckle up – it's still your best defense against other impaired drivers.
Additional tips and more information are also available at www.StopImpairedDriving.org.