LOS ANGELES – The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles will face off in the Super Bowl on February 12 in Glendale, Arizona. Millions of people will watch the Big Game in bars, restaurants and homes across Southern California and the nation. That’s why the Auto Club, MADD and law enforcement are reminding fans to stop drink driving this coming weekend.
A third of all accidents in California are due to driving problems. Over the past five Super Bowl Sundays, there have been 1,363 DUI incidents resulting in 43 deaths and 756 injuries in the Golden State, according to the California Highway Patrol. Nationwide, in 2020 (most recent national data available), 55 people died on Super Bowl Sunday, or 44 percent of all traffic deaths for that day of the week.
“Our message to drivers is sober driving or game over,” said Doug Shupe, the Auto Club’s corporate communications manager. “A DUI collision could change your life or someone else’s forever, leave you with a life filled with guilt, preventing you from getting the job you want and costing you a lot of money. Your entire life could be negatively affected by making the wrong decision to drive after drinking alcohol. A first-time drunk driving conviction in California could cost a driver $22,578 in court, DMV arrests and fines, taxes and penalties, alcohol education classes, attorney fees, according to Auto Club research. and additional insurance costs. Beyond the financial penalties of a DUI, there is a much greater cost which is that of a human life. That’s why the Auto Club, law enforcement and MADD are reminding fans to plan ahead before heading out to watch the game.
“We urge everyone to put choosing a sober, non-drinking driver at the top of their Super Bowl party checklist,” said Patricia Rillera, MADD California State Executive Director. “Whether you go out or stay home, celebrate with a plan.”
In addition to alcohol and driving, legal recreational marijuana and driving are also causes for concern. Whether you smoke, vape, or consume edibles, getting behind the wheel while addicted to marijuana poses a risk to everyone on the road, too. In fact, next to alcohol, marijuana is the drug most commonly found in drivers who have been involved in accidents.
Research shows that drivers involved in crashes who also tested positive for THC were three to seven times more likely to be responsible for causing the crash. The effects of marijuana on driving skills include:
- Difficulty maintaining attention
- Slower reaction times
- Inability to stay in lanes of traffic
- Difficulty judging distances
- Slower decision making
- Reduced peripheral/lateral vision
- Reduced coordination
This weekend CHP and LAPD officers will be closely monitoring the alcohol and drug problems on our roads.
“The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year and many people will choose to watch the game with alcohol. We want our community members to enjoy the Big Game, but to do so responsibly and safely,” said Donald Graham, deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Bureau of Transit Services. drivers to help keep the streets safe, and if not, we’ll be there.”
“We will be on the lookout for drivers with disabilities,” said Jared Perry, area captain at CHP Central Los Angeles. “Alcohol isn’t the only substance that can lead to an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). Cannabis, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs can all impair your ability to drive and land you in jail.
Elina Medina knows the pain of losing someone to DUI. On April 6, 1996, her best friend was driving her and Medina’s 4-year-old brother home when an ill-health driver traveling 64 miles per hour on a residential street crashed into them as they were at an intersection.
“After the accident, someone had to help me out of the car, and I was screaming for someone to help my brother,” Medina said.
Tragically, Medina’s younger brother was ejected from the car and killed. His best friend, who was behind the wheel at the time, also died on the spot. The driver who hit them was a repeat offender and this incident was his fourth DUI. After a mistrial, the driver pleaded guilty in a second trial and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Medina suffered from survivor’s guilt in the years following the crash.
“Not being able to hug them or see them or celebrate life with them is completely devastating, and I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I go through on a daily basis,” Medina said.
The Auto Club, MADD and law enforcement offer the following tips to ensure safe roadways this Super Bowl weekend.
·Ask guests to designate a sober driver in advance.
· Have phone numbers for sober transportation services handy.
· Take the car keys from the partygoers when they arrive and don’t let them drive in an impaired manner.
· Encourage guests to go at their own pace. Serve food and soft drinks and water. Many mocktail recipes, including ones featuring team colors, can be found online.
·Do not serve alcohol or cannabis to anyone under the age of 21. It’s illegal.
·Allow guests to stay overnight if possible.
Super Bowl Fans and Party Goers:
· Designate a sober driver or safe ride home before attending a Super Bowl party.
·Make sure your designated driver is sober. If he decides to drink, call a sober friend or family member for a ride home. Or, if possible, he stays where you are for the night.
·Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has used marijuana or been drinking alcohol, even after just one drink.
·If you are under the age of 21, do not consume alcohol or marijuana. It’s against the law.
- Take your role as designated pilot seriously. Refrain from any alcoholic beverages or drugs.
- Always fasten your seat belts and ask passengers to do the same.
- If someone you know has been drinking or using marijuana, take the keys and help them get home safely.
- If you encounter a driver in distress on the road, keep a safe distance and have a passenger call 911 (or stop in a safe place to make the call yourself).