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Pass Your Keys to a Designated Driver This Super Bowl Sunday
02/01/2008
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

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During what is anticipated to be the most-watched Super Bowl football game ever, state and local highway safety and law enforcement officials remind everyone to act responsibly by designating a sober driver if using alcohol this Super Bowl weekend.
 
"If you plan on drinking alcohol while cheering your team on to victory, pass your keys to a sober, designated driver before the Super Bowl party begins," said Oregon State Police Superintendent Timothy McLain. "Have a game plan and follow the rules or law enforcement will penalize you for driving impaired. We want everyone to make the right play for the big game and get home safely."
 
Oregon's local message is part of the National Football League's season-long "Responsibility Has Its Rewards" national designated driver program. Super Bowl Sunday is one of America's biggest and most entertaining national sporting events as friends and families gather to socialize and watch the big game. Yet, it is also one of the nation's most dangerous days on the roadways due to impaired driver.
 
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 130 people, representing 39 percent of all traffic fatalities, died during the 2006 Super Bowl weekend in crashes involving impaired drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .08 or higher.
 
During last year's Super Bowl weekend in Oregon two people were killed in two separate fatal traffic crashes, down from six deaths that happened during the 2006 weekend. One fatality occurred evening in Lane County that led to the death of a pregnant 21-year old Eugene woman and serious injuries to an 18-month old female child passenger and a 30-year old male driver, who was later convicted of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second Degree. The other fatality was to a 16-year old girl who was not using safety restraints and was ejected from her vehicle on an icy stretch of Interstate 84 east of Baker City.
 
Entering Super Bowl weekend, travelers will also need to be concerned with current and developing weather problems that affect many of Oregon's highways. "Driving defensively and watching for impaired drivers is challenging enough, but we also have to drive to the highway conditions wherever we are traveling," said Matthew Garrett, director of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
 
The message, "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk", applies not only to Super Bowl weekend, but everyday of the year. State, county and local police agencies may be putting out extra patrols to help find those drivers who drive outside of the rules and put others at risk. Last year, OSP troopers made 42 DUII arrests during Super Bowl weekend - fourteen occurred after 12 noon on game day.
 
Oregon State Police, Oregon Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and ODOT 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.
 
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: Ride-along requests should be directed to local police agencies and your local OSP office. Questions regarding local OSP patrol plans should be directed to your local OSP office.