SALEM, Ore. - For the 48th year, Oregonians will join football fans across the country developing their 'game plan' to gather and watch one of America's most highly anticipated sports events, the Super Bowl XLVIII football game on Sunday, February 2.
As game day approaches and football fans finalize plans, Oregon State Police (OSP), Oregon State Sheriffs' Association (OSSA), Oregon Association Chiefs of Police (OACP) and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) join the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Football League and other partners in spreading the message about designating a sober driver because - Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk.
OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT urge fans to avoid the penalties associated with wrong choices to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive impaired.
"One of the safest ways to get home if you are out somewhere watching the game is to choose a sober, designated driver before the drinking starts or handing off your keys so you won't have them in your hands after the game," said Captain Ted Phillips, director of the OSP Patrol Services Division.
According to NHTSA, impaired drivers contribute to Super Bowl Sunday becoming one of the most dangerous days on the road. Nationwide, approximately 48 percent of traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday involve a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.
Last year on Oregon roads during Super Bowl weekend (12:01 a.m., Saturday, February 2, through 5:59 a.m., Monday, February 4), two people died in two separate fatal traffic crashes in Oregon. Both crashes were investigated by OSP, one of which was alcohol-involved. Over the last seven years, 16 people have died in traffic crashes on Oregon roads during Super Bowl weekend.
During those seven previous Super Bowl weekends, OSP troopers reported over 300 DUII arrests, including 31 arrests last year. OSP, local sheriffs and police departments will be on the lookout for impaired drivers and encourage everyone to place the designation of a sober driver at the top of their Super Bowl game plan.
Before choosing to drink, choose your MVP - a sober, designated driver. OSP, OSSA, OACP and ODOT offer these additional safety reminders:
If you're attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:
* Designate your sober driver before the party begins.
* Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself. Eat plenty of food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
* Make sure your ride is sober before letting him/her drive you.
* 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 if possible stay where you are for the night and don't drive until you are sober.
* Use your community's sober ride program.
* Never let a friend drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home.
* Always buckle up. It's still your best defense against other drunk drivers.
If you're hosting a Super Bowl party:
* Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
* Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
* If you plan to stay sober, offer to drive guests home.
* Encourage guests to pace themselves.
* Host your party like they do at the stadium. Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.
* Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
* Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
Support zero tolerance for impaired driving by reporting impaired drivers to 9-1-1 or OSP at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).
OSP and ODOT understand that not everyone will be in front of a TV watching the game, so those traveling are urged to "Know Before You Go," monitoring media reports for weather forecasts and keeping up-to-date on road conditions at www.TripCheck.com.
In addition to road and weather conditions, winter driving safety information and tips are also there for those who may head out on the road to help keep you informed and safe during winter season travels.