Patrol preaches safety on Super Bowl Sunday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 25, 2003

As the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers battle for the ultimate victory, law enforcement agencies want to emphasize that no one wins when it comes to impaired driving.

Lt. Carl Roark, post commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Ironton Post, said they do not normally see a significant increase in DUI's or alcohol-related crashes on Super Bowl weekend, but definitely want to encourage everyone to celebrate safely.

"There will be parties and celebrations and we do plan and prepare for increased traffic Sunday evening," he said. "We will be out in force looking for impaired drivers."

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Last year, the Patrol responded to five automobile crashes the day of the big game. Alcohol was not involved in any of them, he said.

"We were fortunate last year," he said. "Hopefully, we will be fortunate this year and again have no alcohol related crashes."

Ironton Police Detective, Capt. Chris Bowman agreed that Super Bowl Sunday is not traditionally a bad day. However, he still wanted to encourage everyone to use their heads.

"We will certainly be keeping an eye out for the public's safety and looking for impaired drivers," he said. "We encourage anyone drinking to call someone or use designated drivers."

Nationwide last year, 52 percent of all fatal crashes on Super Bowl Sunday involved alcohol, 11 percent higher than the daily average for 2002. Overall, alcohol-related crashes lead to an average of 48 deaths a day last year, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The national activist group Mothers Against Drunk Driving have targeted Sunday as a high-risk day, and have stepped up education efforts.

"Because the crime of drunk driving is 100 percent preventable, it is imperative that everyone take responsibility for their actions and designate a sober driver during Super Bowl festivities and year-round," Wendy J. Hamilton, national president of MADD, said in a written statement.

"MADD wants everyone on the roadways to be safe."