Be SUPER Careful to Avoid Impaired Driving This Weekend
Festivities for Sunday’s big game are fast approaching with scores of people making plans as to where to watch and what they will eat and drink. AAA Kansas advises party planners and football fans to prepare by designating a sober driver or arranging for alternate transportation options before the party starts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities often spike on holidays and popular party and drinking days. Every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk driving crashes – that’s one person every 39 minutes. In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths – a 14% increase from 2020. Fatalities in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers continue to represent almost one-third (31%) of the total U.S. motor vehicle fatalities. These deaths were all preventable.
The Kansas Department of Transportation tracks crash statistics for the 78-hour period (Fri.-Mon.) surrounding the football championship game each year. During this reporting period, from 2019 to 2022, alcohol-related crashes have risen each year, with alcohol playing a factor in one-third of the traffic fatalities.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (2022) shows drivers overwhelmingly perceive driving after drinking alcohol (94%) as dangerous and 68% believe such a driver would be likely to be apprehended by police, however 7% of respondents reported having engaged in this behavior in the past 30 days.
“Drinking and driving is not a game – it’s a deadly combination and a crime,” said Shawn Steward, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Kansas. “Make your winning drive a sober one and designate a driver before indulging in alcohol. Don’t fumble when it comes to safety. Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable.”
Tips for a Safe Big Game Party
Be a responsible partygoer:
- If you plan to drive, don’t drink.
- If you plan to drink, select a designated driver and give them your car keys. If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a ride share or cab, or stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
- Buckle up—it’s your best defense against other impaired drivers.
Be a responsible host:
- Offer food and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
- Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.
- Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.