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Fans don’t let fans drive drunk

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Tips offered for Super Bowl party hosts, guests

COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Ohio Traffic Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are working together to remind Super Bowl fans to designate a sober driver if they plan to drink alcohol during game festivities Sunday.

Super Bowl Sunday is one of America’s biggest national sporting events as friends and families gather to socialize and watch the game.

During last year’s Super Bowl, troopers made 46 OVI-related arrests from 6 a.m. Feb. 5 through 6 a.m. Feb. 6.

During this 24-hour reporting period, there were three fatalities and 193 injuries resulting from traffic crashes. One of the traffic fatalities and 16 of the injuries were from OVI-related crashes.

“While we want people to enjoy the big game, we want them to do so responsibly,” Director Thomas Charles of the Ohio Department of Public Safety said in a release. “We want everyone to take the appropriate steps to ensure they get home safely.”

Getting caught driving while impaired will earn you a costly penalty from law enforcement, and may even result in losing your driving privileges.

For bars and establishments, over-serving or serving underage patrons could also mean costly fines, suspension or revocation of their liquor permit.

To help keep the roads safe this Super Bowl weekend, more than 81 local law enforcement agencies around the state will be conducting more than 1,925 hours of enforcement activity and 1,100 hours of saturation patrols, funded by federal grants provided through OTSO.

“We can’t fight the battle against impaired driving on our own — we need your commitment to make our roads safe,” said Colonel John Born, patrol superintendent.

“You can contribute to a safer Ohio by actively influencing friends and family to make safe, responsible decisions, like planning ahead to designate a driver and insisting that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.”

Designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone’s Super Bowl party list along with these tips to stay safe —

For those hosting a Super Bowl party:

• Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers before kick-off or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.

• Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

• Only serve alcohol to guests over 21 years of age.

• 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.

• Take appropriate steps to prevent anyone from driving while impaired.

• Be prepared for guests to spend the night if an alternative way home is not available.

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

• Designate your sober driver before the party begins and leave your car keys at home if you plan to drink.

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

• If you own a bar, or are a permit holder or employee and have questions about over-serving or other liquor-permit related issues, contact one of the Ohio Investigative Unit’s regional offices at www.investigativeunit.ohio.gov. OIU offers free instruction on laws pertaining to the sale and/or consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Agents also cover topics such as false identification, employment of minors, along with penalties for those found in violation.

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

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