The Super Bowl is one of the most awaited sporting events of the year, a time when friends and families across the country, including those in the New York City area, gather to witness the annual football spectacle. In many of these gatherings, alcohol is widely consumed.
This year was no exception, and once again local, state and federal authorities made their annual appeal for Super Bowl revelers to drink wisely in order to prevent drunken-driving accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collaborated with New York State Police in their "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk" campaign. The message is that drivers are capable of preventing drunken-driving accidents simply by refraining from driving after drinking.
Drunken drivers are threats to everyone -- themselves and other drivers. The actual numbers of drunken-driving arrests for this year will not be known for awhile, but in 2010, according to the NHTSA, some 36 percent of the deaths from traffic collisions on Super Bowl Sunday were related to drunken driving. Approximately 10,000 people died in drunken-driving accidents through all of 2010.
The hosts of parties where alcohol is consumed should never let their friends drive after drinking. If necessary, they can take away the car keys of people who plan to leave after drinking, call taxis or find designated drivers who have not consumed alcohol. If necessary, hosts can put up their inconvenienced guests for the night. Such precautions may keep hosts from being held liable in the event an intoxicated person leaves their premises and causes an accident.
As for victims of drunken-driving accidents, they may exercise their rights by filing a suit against the drunk driver. Any awards they receive will depend on the injuries sustained, the resulting medical expenses, damages suffered to properties and potential losses in income.
Source: The Post-Standard, "Officials urge public to avoid drinking, driving during Super Bowl," Ken Sturtz, Feb. 1, 2013