This year’s Big Game may look a little different from previous years, with most fans viewing the football game from home.

However, fans may still be out on the roads, leaving small gatherings to head home after a long evening of sports, comedic commercials, and half-time fun. To help keep Americans safe on the streets, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with Wichita Mountains Prevention Network to remind football enthusiasts that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. This year’s game day falls on Sunday, February 7, 2021. If your night involves alcohol outside your home, plan for a sober ride home. If you’re hosting a small gathering, take care of your guests. Keep reading for tips on how to stay safe on Super Bowl Sunday.

Designated Drivers

● Take your role as designated driver seriously — people are relying on you. If you’re attending a small gathering, enjoy the food and non-alcoholic drinks. Refrain from any alcoholic beverages or other drugs.

● Boast about your MVP status on social media using the hashtag #DesignatedDriver. Your positive influence could help keep other sober drivers on the right track.

● Always buckle your seat belt and require any passengers to do the same. Don’t start the car until all passengers’ seat belts are buckled.

● If someone you know has been drinking and tries to drive, take their keys and help them get home safely. Even if they make a fuss in the moment, they’ll thank you later.

Prepare for a Safe Huddle

If you plan to attend a small gathering outside your home, make sure your evening includes a plan for getting home safely. Follow these safety tips, and you’ll be on your way to your own Super Bowl win.

● You know the rules: It’s illegal to drive drunk. Before you head out to a  Bowl gathering, make a game plan that includes a sober driver — someone who will not drink at all, and will safely bring you home.

● Remember that alcohol isn’t the only substance that can keep you from driving safely: Marijuana, like many other drugs, can affect drivers’ ability to react to their surroundings. Driving is a complex task, and marijuana can slow reaction time, affecting the drivers’ ability to drive safely.

● Make sure your designated driver is actually sober. If he or she decides to drink unexpectedly, call a sober ride.

● Don’t let friends (and fans) drive drunk. If someone at your small gathering has been drinking, help arrange a safe way for them to get home, too.

● When you ride home with your sober driver, make sure you — and your driver — wear your seat belts. It’s your best defense in a crash.

● Remember, walking impaired can also be dangerous. Designate a sober friend to walk home with you.

● If available, use your community’s sober ride or other options such as Uber or Lyft.

Hosts

If you are hosting a small gathering for a socially distanced  Bowl Game Sunday, be sure all your guests have a sober ride home.

● Ask your guests to designate their sober drivers in advance.

● Encourage your drinking guests to pace themselves, eat food, and drink plenty of water.

● Serve a selection of non-alcoholic drinks.

● Do not serve alcohol to minors. If an underage person drinks and drives, the person who provided the alcohol can be held liable for any damage, injury, or death caused by the underage driver. In fact, you can face jail time if you host a small gathering where alcohol is served to people under the age of 21.

Know the Risks

Impaired driving is a serious problem with serious consequences. Don’t ruin your night by becoming another statistic.

● In 2019, there were 10,142 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

● The consequences of drunk driving can be deadly, but they can also be expensive. Drunk drivers face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and many other unanticipated expenses, including attorney’s fees, court costs, and lost wages due to time off from work. The average DUI costs approximately $10,000.

● Know your state’s laws: Refusing to take a breath test in many jurisdictions can result in arrest, loss of your driver’s license, and impoundment of your vehicle. Not to mention the embarrassment of explaining your situation to family, friends, and employers.

This year’s Big Game is drastically different from previous years. For those staying home, consider hosting or attending a virtual watch party. Bonus: No need to worry about drinking and driving!

In many communities, drivers are now transporting alcohol more routinely. If your community allows alcoholic drinks for carryout, remember to transport any alcohol in a leak-proof container, leaving stickers and seals in place. No straws should be placed in the containers. In many states, open containers are prohibited in any seating area of a vehicle, including the driver's side, passenger side, or backseat, even if the vehicle is stopped or parked. Remember that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. Ensure you are following open container laws.

For Big Game 55 be a team player and be aware of dangers of drunk driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.

Wichita Mountains Prevention Network is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, and Centers for Disease Control- Drug Free Communities

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