Have a Safe Super Bowl Weekend

With Seattle in the Super Bowl this weekend excitement surrounding the Big Game is even higher than usual here in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, increased excitement can often lead to overindulgence, and local and federal officials alike warn that Super Bowl weekend can be a dangerous time to be on the road.

According to a news release issued earlier today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “on Super Bowl Sunday 2012 alone, 38 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes have been connected to drunk driving, compared to 30 percent on an average weekend.” The NHTSA has partnered with the NFL and the Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) Coalition to urge fans to be careful and drink responsibly wherever they choose to watch this Sunday’s game.

If self-control is not sufficient to prevent Oregon drunk driving, everyone should also be aware that police will be out in force across Portland this weekend. “The Portland Police Bureau and the Oregon State Police are teaming up on Sunday in a crackdown on drunken drivers. Their message: ‘Think before you drink.’ If you do, arrange for safe transportation to Super Bowl activities,” according to a report in The Oregonian.

As the newspaper’s report outlines, safe and responsible conduct extends to hosts as well as party guests or restaurant and bar patrons. The paper advises people hosting Super Bowl parties to make sure everyone who is drinking has a designated driver to help them get home and to encourage guests to pace themselves. It even suggests that hosts follow the lead of stadium managers and stop pouring alcohol once the fourth quarter starts. This is all sound advice. Under a legal doctrine known as “Social Host Liability” party hosts can be held responsible for the reckless behavior of their guests just as the state’s Dram Shop Law extends responsibility for the damage a drunk driver causes back to the clerk or bartender who served alcohol to a visibly drunk person.

As a Portland drunk driving victims lawyer I am glad to see this renewed emphasis on safe and responsible conduct. Oregon Public Broadcasting reported after last year’s Super Bowl that DUII arrests on game day fell to 31 from 38 the previous year. Let’s all hope that this Sunday that downward trend continues.

NHTSA Consumer Advisory: Celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII Responsibly

The Oregonian: Super Bowl Sunday DUII Patrols: Portland Police, Oregon State Police Team Up

Oregon Public Broadcasting: Drunk Driving Arrests Dropped this Super Bowl Weekend