MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Safe Communities Coalition under the direction of the Knox County Health Department is joining forces with local law enforcement officials to keep people safe during the Super Bowl.
“We want to remind those who plan to use alcohol at this year’s Super Bowl parties to act responsibly and designate a sober driver before the start of the game,” said Caree Varughese, coalition project director. This year’s Super Bowl is set for Feb. 6.
“It doesn’t matter which team you are rooting for, if you drink and drive after a Super Bowl party, you might not live to see another one or another year,” said Varughese. “Making sure friends don’t drink and drive is an easy way to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest from drunk driving.”
Varughese suggests the following helpful tips for those attending Super Bowl festivities:
•Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself — eat, take breaks, alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
•Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
•If impaired, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel. Ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a taxi, or a family member to come and pick you up; or stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
Take the keys if you think they are about to drive while impaired.
“The coalition does not want to dampen the enjoyment of the party,” said Varughese. “We also don’t want to see people hurt from drinking too much.”
As a host of a Super Bowl party, people have a responsibility to their guests. The following tips will help to make the party both entertaining and safe:
•Serve lots of food — particularly high-protein dishes and be sure to include a lot of non-alcoholic beverages.
•Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game — and begin serving coffee and dessert.
•Be sure all of your guests designate their drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
•Take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.
•Keep numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.
Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in an impaired crash.
There is a misconception of “buzzed driving.” “Buzzed” refers to the condition of an individual after a “few” drinks.
“So often we have a few drinks at a friend’s house or bar and we think, ‘I can drive, I’m just buzzed,’” said Varughese. “People need to be aware that, buzzed driving is drunk driving. If you plan on using alcohol while cheering your favorite team on to victory, play it safe. Pass your keys off to a sober, designated driver before the party begins.”
The Super Bowl has become one of America’s biggest and most entertaining national sporting events. People are not only captivated by the game itself, but the much anticipated, multimillion dollar commercials and halftime entertainment.
“So eat lots of chips and dips, catch the pre-game show and watch the multi-million dollar commercials, but don’t drink and then try to drive home,” said Varughese.
For more information, call Varughese at 392-2200, ext. 2231.