ATLANTA — The Super Bowl is America’s most watched sporting event and on Sunday, drunk drivers will be the most watched motorists by Georgia law enforcement.
That’s because for Super Bowl 50, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and troopers, deputies and police officers statewide won’t be at a party. They’ll be on the road, making sure drunk drivers don’t take the party to the streets.
GOHS is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign and coupling it with its year-round Operation Zero Tolerance message, which means if you’re over the limit, you’ll be under arrest. The key message on Super Bowl Sunday and every day is for people to make plans ahead of time, like arranging a sober driver, which will prevent them from getting behind the wheel after drinking.
The message is clear because according to NHTSA, almost 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes in 2014, which is 31 percent of all nationwide crashes. Georgia contributed 165 of those impaired driving deaths. The fact the Super Bowl is played on a Sunday is also a concern because 40 percent of alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2014 occurred on the weekend.
“Georgia has zero tolerance for drunk driving and Super Bowl Sunday is no exception no matter who you’re rooting for,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “Even with Georgia’s own Cam Newton in the big game, there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel after drinking.”
For both Broncos and Panthers fans, the good news is no matter which team wins, there will always be a safe way home whether you’ve drowned your sorrows or overindulged in celebration.
“Whether it’s designating a sober driver ahead of time or planning to use ride services like Uber or Lyft, the choices are there,” Blackwood said. “You can also program taxi company numbers into your phone or download our Drive Sober, Georgia smartphone app to get an instant list of sober ride programs in your area.”
Party hosts can also help avoid tragedy by serving plenty of non-alcoholic drinks for designated drivers, stopping serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter and by being prepared to take keys away from inebriated quests intent on driving.
For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/SuperBowl.