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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Prevent Drunk Driving Tragedies on Super Bowl Sunday
Designate a Sober Driver Before the Party Begins

RICHMOND - Because alcohol negatively affects a driver's judgment and driving ability, the chances of being in a crash are seven times greater if the driver has been drinking compared to a sober driver. That is why DMV's Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO) is reminding everyone this Super Bowl Sunday to designate a sober driver before the party begins.

"Don't let your Super Bowl Sunday end in an arrest - or even worse, death," said VAHSO Director John Saunders. "Make smart decisions. Turning over your keys and designating a sober driver before drinking at a Super Bowl party will save you from landing behind bars, and save lives."

Researchers estimate that between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., the time when Super Bowl party-goers will be heading home, three out of every 10 drivers are drunk. More than one-third of these drivers have been drinking at someone else's home.

Nearly 50 percent of the drivers arrested for DUI are normally social to moderate drinkers. Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in Virginia, yet the average BAC of tested drinking drivers was 0.1404. In Virginia, 31,469 people were convicted of DUI and 25,758 people tested with a BAC of .08 or greater in 2008.

"No matter which team you're cheering for on Super Bowl Sunday, remember that drunk driving is not a game," Saunders said. "Don't think that it won't happen to you. In your lifetime, there's a 50-50 chance that you'll be involved in an alcohol-related crash." In Virginia, two people were killed in crashes on February 1, 2009, last year's Super Bowl date, and both deaths were alcohol-related.

"Getting caught driving while impaired will earn you a costly penalty from law enforcement, and could likely result in loss of your driving privileges and even jail time," Saunders said. "Impaired-driving crashes and fatalities can be prevented. Designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone's Super Bowl party list."

If you're hosting a Super Bowl party, make it your responsibility to get all of your guests home safely. Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve at your party ends up in an impaired driving crash. If you plan to serve alcohol at your party, here are some tips:

  • Before the party starts, assign a responsible designated driver and give them the keys.
  • Immediately stop serving alcohol to any guest who is displaying obvious signs of intoxication.
  • Serve high protein, high carbohydrate foods. These help absorb alcohol at a higher rate than sugary foods.
  • Make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available.
  • Make sure drinks are not made with high amounts of alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol several hours before the party is scheduled to end.

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