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Super Bowl Parties and the Dangers of Drunk Driving – A Checklist

Jan 24, 2014 | General News

The Super Bowl is more than a big game. It’s an annual occasion when people gather with friends and family to eat and drink and watch the game. Alcoholic beverages are common at Super Bowl parties so be careful not to let anyone drink too much and drive. If you’re planning on attending or hosting a Super Bowl party, here are a few things to keep in mind so you will be certain you have only great memories.

Tips For Super Bowl Party Hosts 

All hosts should know what ‘social host liability’ means. In some states, social host law means anyone injured by a party guest at the host’s home can sue them for damages if they were injured by a person who was served alcohol. Virginia law is not that stringent. The liability rests with the person who is intoxicated, and generally, the person who served alcohol is not blamed for a party guest’s actions.

  • Hosts should limit the alcohol served at parties and ensure their guests are at least 21 years of age.
  • Make sure to offer alcohol-free beverages and non-salty snacks. Salty snacks such as chips make people drink more.
  • Hosts should be sure that party guests who are planning on drinking have an alternate way of getting home. Keep handy the phone number of local taxi cab companies.

Super Bowl party hosts should know the exceptions to the social host rule. If a party host serves alcohol to a minor, the host can be charged with a criminal offense. Also, in the cases of licensed bars and restaurants, the server also might face certain sanctions and fines from the licensing board. If a party guest is under 21, hosts have a responsibility to make sure that he or she does not drink alcohol.

Advice For Super Bowl Party Guests 

Drivers should be aware that even if they choose not to drink, others might have overindulged. In 2012, Virginia had more than 123,579 car crashes, and 7% of those crashes were alcohol-related. The average BAC for a drunk driver in Virginia in 2012 was 0.1397.

Once over the legal limit of .08, a driver usually has obvious problems with reaction time and control. Drivers over the legal limit might weave all over the road, drive very slowly, come to sudden stops or make erratic turns. A driver who observes someone acting like this should steer clear of the vehicle and even pull over and wait for the driver to pass.

Party guests should have a plan in place to make sure they can get home safely. A designated driver should be picked who avoids alcohol entirely. If a designated driver is not picked, the party guest should take a taxi or make use of public transportation.  This is an effective way to help avoid dangerous situations and potential legal trouble that can arise from increased law enforcement activity, such as DUI checkpoints.

People should never plan to drink and drive, saying they’ll ‘only have a few.’ Having only 2 drinks in one hour is enough to put most people over the legal limit of .08. Good drivers have no alcohol in their system, as even a small amount can cause lowered inhibitions and lack of concentration. There are many websites, apps and other resources that can help you understand the effects of drinking alcohol, such as the “Drink Educator Virtual bar” at http://www.b4udrink.org/virtual-bar.

Don’t believe ‘sobering up’ myths. Drinking black coffee, running around the block or taking a cold shower will not make someone sober. The only thing that makes people sober up is time. To have a safe Super Bowl Sunday, hosts and party guests should plan. They should have a plan for themselves or their guests to get home safely. That way, they can have a great time with friends.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 866-369-9051.

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