Planning a Super Bowl Party?

Culpeper police encourage having a game plan

The stage is set for what could be one of the best Super Bowl match ups in years.

The offensive powerhouse Denver Broncos take on the defensive-minded Seattle Seahawks. The coaches will work on game plans to exploit the other team’s weaknesses and limit their strengths.

Fans wishing to celebrate the biggest game in sports on Feb. 2, should develop a game plan of their own to ensure that no one drives drunk.

“We encourage everyone who wants to drink alcohol before, during and after the game to have a game plan about how to get home safely,” said Culpeper Deputy Police Chief Maj. Ricky Pinksaw. “Naming a designated sober driver before kickoff is a perfect way to game plan.”

Culpeper police will be on the lookout for drunken drivers Sunday.

“If you plan to drink, act responsibly,” said Pinksaw. “Leave the car keys at home.”

While Super Bowl Sunday is a day to celebrate the end of the NFL season, with America’s most-watched game, it’s also a time for friends and family to socialize watching the big game whether at home or in bars.

Super Bowl Sunday is also one of the most dangerous days on our roads due to impaired drivers.

In 2011, there were 181 crashes on Super Bowl Sunday in Virginia, with 28 of those being classified as alcohol-related, according to DMV statistics. The number of accidents increased to 220 in 2012, with 40 alcohol-related. Last year, the number of reported accidents on Super Bowl Sunday declined to 173, with 24 related to drunken driving.

In 2011, latest year statistics are available, 9,878 people were killed nationwide in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes, with 31 percent of those accidents more likely occurring on weekends rather than weekdays, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA).

Police also remind drivers that not only is driving while intoxicated illegal but refusing a blood or breath test also is illegal.

Culpeper police along with NHSTA, the NFL and Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management want to spread the word that “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.”

“We urge everyone to develop a game plan to get home safely, “said Pinksaw. “Execute that game plan and save a life.”

NHSTA offers the following safety tips:

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.
 Keep track of how much you have had to drink
 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.

 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.

If an underage person drinks and drives, the parent may be legally liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.

Likewise, parents or other adults who provide alcohol to – or host a party where alcohol is available to – those under age 21, could face jail time.