Today is an unofficial U.S. holiday – Super Bowl Sunday. Across the country, hosts are cooking up pots of spicy chili, marinating those burgers and brats for grilling – and making last-minute beer runs.
Our Highland personal injury attorneys know that Super Bowl Sunday is a notoriously dangerous day to be on the road. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, alcohol was a factor in 43 percent of all fatal crashes on Super Bowl in 2011. On most other days, alcohol is a factor in about 30 percent of all fatal crashes.
Some research has indicated that historically, the statistics have been worse – especially if your team loses.
Scientists at the University of Toronto recently looked at crash data on Super Bowl game days dating back 27 years – and found significant increases. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the data showed that while there was actually a 10 percent drop in DUI crashes during the game, the hour immediately after the game was deadly – with a 70 percent increase in accidents overall. Throughout the evening of Superbowl Sunday, the average accident rate rose by 40 percent compared to an average Sunday evening.
Whereas the average number of people who died in traffic accidents on a typical Sunday was 17, the researchers found it rose to 24 lives lost on Super Bowl Sunday. (Last year, it was even higher, with 27 people killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes on Super Bowl Sunday, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.) And those injured in traffic crashes increased from 1,300 on an average Sunday to 1,900 on Super Bowl Sunday. The number of overall crashes went from 3,000 to almost 4,000.
Of course, that’s nationwide. We can’t speak to the specific statistics in Indiana, but we do know law enforcement officials here are taking it seriously, promising to be out in full force conducting saturation patrols to nab suspected drunk drivers.
According to Bankrate.com, the average DUI arrest – after fines, court costs, attorneys’ fees, traffic school, probation and higher insurance rates – is going to run you about $10,000, maybe more.
Still, it doesn’t appear fans intend to refrain from imbibing. NBC News reports that the amount of money spent on beer in the two weeks surrounding last year’s Super Bowl was more than $1 billion.
Studies have indicated that in addition to alcohol, driver inattention is a big factor in crashes following the game, with fans replaying the highlights (and lamenting the bad plays) in their minds – consuming the attention they should be giving to the road ahead.
In Indiana, hosts, too, may be held liable if one of their guests to whom they served alcohol gets into a serious wreck – especially if that driver is underage. So if you are hosting a party tonight, make sure the following is part of your checklist:
- Make sure all guests have a designated driver.
- Make sure to offer plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and food.
- Cut off alcohol consumption at the end of the third quarter, just like the stadiums do it. Give your guests a chance to sober up, and offer coffee and desert.
- Have the phone numbers of local taxi companies on hand.
- Take the keys away from anyone who seems to drunk to drive.
Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Burton A. Padove works with clients throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Highland, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll-free 877-446-5294.
Super Bowl XLVII, Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign, February 3, 2013, Traffic Safety Marketing, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
More Blog Entries:
Report: Indiana Car Accident Prevention Requires Tougher Laws, Jan. 28, 2013, Highland Personal Injury Lawyer Blog