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Make the Right Call: Toss Your Keys to a Sober Driver this Super Bowl Weekend
01/28/2009
Sergeant Dan Swift
Oregon State Police - Portland
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 267
(Sergeant Swift will be OSP Acting PIO Jan. 31 - Feb. 2)
 
Senior Trooper Michael Iwai
Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division
Oregon Drug Evaluation Classification Program Coordinator
Office: (503) 934-0267


State and local law enforcement and highway officials in Oregon are joining with the National Football League (NFL), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and other partner agencies in passing on the safety message to act responsibly and designate a sober driver if they plan on drinking alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st.
 
"Please call the right play for this weekend and the big game by tossing your keys into the hands of a sober driver.  Do this before anyone gets into the driver's seat and makes a costly mistake that could penalize you or someone else for the rest of your life," said Oregon State Police Superintendent Timothy McLain.
 
Super Bowl Sunday is one of America's biggest and most entertaining national sporting events as friends and families gather to watch the big game.  Yet, it has also become one of the nation's most dangerous days on the roadways due to impaired driving.
 
According to NHTSA, fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes accounted for 32 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities.  On Super Bowl Sunday (12:01 a.m. Sunday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), 48 percent of the fatalities occurred in crashes where a driver or motorcycle rider had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher.
 
Over last year's Super Bowl weekend in Oregon, five people were killed in 4 separate fatal traffic crashes.  According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), none of last year's fatal crashes over that weekend involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
 
ODOT Director Matthew Garrett pointed out that icy roadway conditions were a factor in at least 75 percent of last year's fatal crashes over Super Bowl weekend.
 
"This serves as a reminder that there is a possibility that we may have winter highway conditions anywhere in Oregon this time of the year," Garrett said.  "We want you to enjoy the weekend, so please don't drink and drive."
 
Tossing your keys to a sober driver should be a pass made all year, not just Super Bowl weekend.  State, county and local police agencies put extra patrols on area roads to defend against those dangerous and impaired drivers who aren't playing by the rules.  Last year, OSP troopers arrested 23 DUII drivers over the weekend, thirteen of which happened Sunday after 12 noon.  Two years ago, troopers arrested 42 DUII drivers over Super Bowl weekend, of which fourteen happened after 12 noon.
 
Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, ODOT and Mother's Against Drunk Driving stress that designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone's Super Bowl party list.
 
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:
 
* Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
* Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
* 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.
* Always buckle up – it's still your best defense against other impaired drivers.
Join our team and report possible intoxicated drivers to 9-1-1 or Oregon State Police dispatch at 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7856).
 
For updated information on highway work and current travel information throughout Oregon, visit www.tripcheck.com, or call the Oregon road report at 5-1-1 or (800) 977-6368.
 
More information is also available at www.StopImpairedDriving.org.
 
NOTE: Media ride-along requests should be directed to your local OSP office and local police agencies. Questions regarding local OSP patrol plans should be directed to your local OSP office.