VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., (January 28, 2014) - The Super Bowl ─ this year with the Denver Broncos battling the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2nd ─ is our nation’s biggest annual sporting event with fans and families watching the game, commercials and half-time show at home parties where alcohol is typically served and consumed, or viewing the event from restaurants and sports bars. With the large number of parties and restaurant outings, AAA wants to remind motorists that drinking and driving has severe consequences in the state of Virginia, more than ever before due to the 2012 changes in the DUI penalties.
Virginia’s law states: “For first offense and subsequent offenses, the court shall require a DWI offender who has been granted either restricted driving privileges or full driving privileges on condition to operate only motor vehicles that are equipped with ignition interlock devices for any period of time not to exceed the period of license suspension and restriction, not less than 6 consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirements.
“Whether you’re meeting friends at a bar or having a Super Bowl party in your home, celebrate responsibly and designate a sober driver to avoid tragedy on the roads. You don’t want your party on the 2nd to end in a trip to jail or worse on the 3rd ,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia.
Designate a Sober Driver
During 2012, there were 229 fatalities and 5,861 injuries in the 8,777 alcohol-related crashes in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The national picture of annual drunken driving fatalities is grim as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,322 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2012, an increase of 457 from the year before. Drunk-driving fatalities accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States, up from 30 percent in 2011.
To help keep drivers and passengers safe on Super Bowl Sunday, AAA recommends these tips:
For Home Party Hosts:
- Ask all your guests to designate a sober driver in advance.
- Keep numbers for local cab and sober ride services handy.
- If hosting a Super Bowl party, be a responsible host. Take car keys from partygoers as they arrive and don’t let them drive drunk.
- As a host, serve food and non-alcoholic drinks and water.
- Serve protein-rich and starchy foods to slow alcohol absorption.
- Do not serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.
- Stop serving alcohol in the third quarter of the game. Begin serving coffee and dessert.
- Allow guests to stay overnight, if possible.
For Party Guests or Patrons Watching the Game at Restaurants-Bars:
- Designate a sober driver in advance if attending a Super Bowl party.
- Keep a cab company and/or sober ride service telephone number in your cell phone and wallet so you can call for a ride home.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol, too quickly. Eat food and drink water during the party.
- Call a sober friend, family member or a taxi for a ride if you’ve been drinking. Or, if possible, stay where you are for the night.
- Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- If you’re under 21, do not consume alcohol. It’s against the law.
- Buckle your seat belt each time you drive.
- If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).