January 29, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday & Your Safety

By Jaklitsch Law Group of Jaklitsch Law Group on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.

sbWhile the teams, site and time have been finalized, a local anti-drunk driving organization is urging the public to also develop a game plan to prevent drunk driving during this weekend’s “Super Bowl Sunday.”

During Super Bowl Sunday, 40-percent of all traffic fatalities occurring in the U.S. are alcohol-related according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“With nearly half of all U.S. traffic deaths being caused by drunk drivers during Super Bowl Sunday, it’s important to have a game-plan prior to kick-off and to beat this too often deadly opponent,” said Kurt Gregory Erickson, President of the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program, a 30-year-old public-private partnership combating drunk driving.

The McLean, Virginia-based organization has issued a number of “safe celebrating” tips to prevent drunk driving during “Super Bowl Sunday,” scheduled for Feb. 3, 2013. These tips include:

  • Plan ahead and designate a driver if you’re celebrating with alcohol.
  • Use alternative transportation like taxi cabs.
  • Be a responsible host by:
  • Not serving anyone who appears to be impaired.
  • Serving food with alcohol (high protein foods like meats and cheeses stay in the stomach longer thereby slowing the body’s alcohol absorption rate).
  • Using a non-carbonated base in alcoholic punches (the body absorbs alcohol faster when mixed with carbonization).
  • Serving non-alcoholic beverages as an option.
  • Never serving minors.
  • Closing the bar at least an hour before the event’s end.
  • Designate a bartender / don’t let guests mix their own drinks.
  • And never allowing impaired guest to get behind the wheel.
  • Report drunk drivers. (District and Maryland law enforcement professionals both encourage the dialing of “911” for motorists to report suspected drunk drivers. In Virginia, the use of the “#77 feature” on wireless telephones is encouraged for the same.)
  • Wear your seatbelt.

“Wearing a seatbelt may not be widely viewed as a tool in this effort but the wearing of a seatbelt may be your best defense against a drunk driver,” said Erickson. “The bottom-line is that the routine wearing of seatbelts is the single most effective measure to reduce crash-related deaths and injuries.”

Founded in 1982, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program is an award-winning public-private partnership working to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking in the Washington-metropolitan area. Through public education, innovative health education programs and advocacy, WRAP is credited with keeping the metro-Washington area’s alcohol-related traffic deaths consistently lower than the national average. WRAP, however, may best be known to area residents via the organization’s popular free cab ride service for would-be drunk drivers, SoberRide.