Fans don't let fans drive drunk

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By Special to the Monitor

Robert Naranjo of  RACDWIBA (Rio Arriba County DWI Business Alliance), said they are joining forces with the National Football League (NFL), the Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management Coalition (TEAM), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other state and local highway safety and law enforcement officials to remind everyone to act responsibly by designating a sober driver if they plan on using alcohol this Super Bowl weekend. “We want to remind everyone this weekend that real ‘Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk,’” said Naranjo. “If you plan on drinking alcohol while cheering your team on to victory, pass your keys to a sober, designated driver before the Super Bowl party begins. Follow the rules or law enforcement will penalize you for driving impaired. We want everyone to make the right play for the big game.”This effort is part of the NFL-TEAM’s season-long “Responsibility Has Its Rewards” national designated driver program.During the 2007-08 NFL season, more than 100,000 football fans pledged to be a sober designated driver.Fans who pledged to be designated drivers at NFL games were eligible to enter a drawing to be selected as the team’s designated driver for the season. The selected designated drivers for each of the two teams that compete in the Super Bowl received two tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations to attend the big game.In addition, one designated driver from an NFL team that does not play in the Super Bowl will be chosen at random to attend the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.For 2008, TEAM projects that number will continue to increase as more fans plan ahead and make the responsible, winning play.Super Bowl Sunday is one of America’s biggest and most entertaining national sporting events as friends and families gather to socialize and watch the big game. Yet, it is also one of the nation’s most dangerous days on the roadways due to impaired driving.According to NHTSA, 130 people, representing 39 percent of all traffic fatalities, died during the 2006 Super Bowl weekend in crashes involving impaired drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .08 or higher. “Designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone’s Super Bowl party list,” Naranjo said. “You’ll be glad you did.”The TEAM Coalition—an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaries, the beer industry, broadcasters, traffic safety experts and others—works to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at all sports and entertainment facilities.For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org or www.TeamCoalition.org.  If you're hosting the party ... • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in an impaired driving crash. Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.

• Serve lots of food—and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.

• Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.

• Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.

• If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant:

• Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

• Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.

• If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.

• Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired. 

• Always buckle up – it’s still your best defense against other impaired drivers.