The Super Bowl is best known for being America’s most-watched sporting event, with millions of people around the country tuning in from locations ranging from bars to house parties. Unfortunately, Super Bowl Sunday has recently developed a less desirable reputation as one of the more dangerous days of the year for drunk driving car accidents. It is important for people in Multnomah County and other parts of Oregon to recognize this risk and take precautions accordingly during Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be held Feb. 2, 2014.
Surprising Super Bowl Sunday Statistics
Although an increase in accidents on Super Bowl Sunday could be logically expected, given the number of people who drink and the fact that people flood the roadways at the same time after the game, many people do not realize how common these accidents are. Shockingly, according to the Washington Post, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that, during Super Bowl Sunday 2010, a drunk driving fatality occurred every 52 minutes.
A press release from the Oregon State Police posted in January 2013 reveals more alarming Super Bowl Sunday statistics. Drawing on state reports and NHTSA reports, the press release states that:
- Drivers with alcohol in their systems are involved in 48 percent of fatal accidents that occur on Super Bowl Sunday.
- In 2012, there were 3 drunk-driving related fatalities and 38 DUI arrests in Oregon alone.
- This represented an increase in fatalities and a decrease in DUI arrests from 2011.
- Since 2007, crashes involving drunk drivers on Super Bowl Sunday have killed 14 people in Oregon.
According to another Oregon State Police press release, in all of 2012, there were 10 in-state traffic deaths that involved intoxicated drivers – meaning that almost a third of that year’s DUI fatalities occurred on Super Bowl Sunday. In light of these statistics, it is crucial that people understand what they can do to act responsibly and reduce the risk for themselves and other motorists.
Tips for a Safe Super Bowl Sunday
The Oregon State Police press release suggests a few guidelines for people going out drinking and people who are hosting parties. People who plan to drink should designate a driver and hand their car keys over before starting to drink. People who cannot find a designated driver should take advantage of sober ride programs, call a cab or look for a place to stay for the night.
People who are hosting parties should provide plenty of food and water and stop serving drinks before the end of the game, just like a bar would before closing time. Hosts should also verify that guests have made safe plans for getting home, provide cab numbers to guests who are not fit to drive and be prepared to accommodate guests for the night, if necessary.
Designated drivers and other sober drivers should be aware of the heightened risk that they may face and give the road their full attention. Unfortunately, accidents caused by other drivers are sometimes unavoidable, and if past years are any indicator, innocent drivers may be harmed by the irresponsible choices that others make this Super Bowl Sunday.
Anyone who has been hurt in an accident involving a drunk driver should speak with an attorney about pursuing compensation for the injury.