American Medical Response urges Georgia sports fans to take precautions during Super Bowl Sunday

Published 6:11 pm Friday, February 1, 2019

While drunk driving violations have increased after nine of the last 11 Super Bowl Sundays, states and regions with their home teams in the big game can see violations are double or even the triple the norm, according to a press release from American Medical Response Georgia. With Atlanta hosting the big game this year, AMR Georgia is urging all sports fans to be on the same team when it comes to safety and remember that fans don’t let fans drive drunk.

“Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest days for drinking alcohol nationwide, but when the host city is your own, it adds another risk or dimension to the danger,” said Terence Ramotar, AMR’s Regional Director.

“Whether you’re watching the game at a private home, at a sports bar or from the 50-yard line at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, please take the necessary precautions to stay safe, drink responsibly and plan ahead for a ride with a designated driver, cab or ride-sharing service.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol is a factor in one out of every four traffic deaths in Georgia. There were 368 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Georgia in 2016, which is a 32 percent increase from 2014 when there were 279 alcohol-impaired driving deaths. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 10 people died and 939 were injured in 2,555 crashes during 2017’s Super Bowl weekend in Georgia — and this was when the state was merely a spectator, not the host.

Additionally, NHTSA has found that men ages 21 to 34 are most likely to be involved in DUI crashes, less likely to use seat belts and very likely to speed. Young men are also the core audience for major sporting events.

The Fatal Accident Reporting System has shown Super Bowl Sundays are among the worst days of the year for DUI-related deaths.

BACtrack, a maker of personal breathalyzers, has studied the level of alcohol in the blood measured by law enforcement testing for each day of the year.

BACtrack found, in some years, DUI offenders on Super Bowl Sunday had on average the second- or third-highest blood alcohol content of all days of the year. New Year’s Eve is perennially the worst. In short, DUI offenders on Super Bowl Sunday are among the most intoxicated on the road any day of the year.

AMR urges party hosts to make certain guests don’t get drunk and drive while offering the following tips to be safe during this year’s Super Bowl:

Never invite guests by saying your group plans to drink a great deal.

Limit your own alcohol intake so you can determine whether guests are fit to drive and take steps to stop impaired guests from driving.

As couples or groups arrive, immediately identify the designated driver. Remind them that a designated driver isn’t one who drinks the least alcohol, but one who drinks zero alcohol.         

Reward designated drivers by giving them a choice seat in front the TV or first pass at the buffet.

Take the keys from all those who aren’t driving.

If a guest comes alone and is known to drink alcohol, determine at the start of the party who will take him or her home.

Do not pressure guests to drink. There’s a big difference between “Would you like something to drink?” compared to “Come on, have a drink!”

Provide a bartender so guests don’t over-serve themselves. Limit servings of alcohol by keeping glasses filled with ice. Don’t rush to refill guests’ glasses with alcohol. 

Put non-alcoholic drinks in the same place as the alcohol, displayed just as prominently.   

Serve lots of food.  Provide water and juice plus “mocktails.”

Mocktails are mixed drinks without alcohol in them. A “virgin” Bloody Mary looks and tastes much like the real thing. has dozens for mocktail recipes. 

Serve all beverages in the same size and shape glass. That way, those who aren’t drinking alcohol won’t feel or look different. 

Do not allow drinking contests. Ask your guests who are drinking to pace themselves, eat plenty of food and alternate alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks.

Never serve alcohol to anyone less than 21 years of age. It’s illegal and has big penalties.

If someone shows up drunk or gets drunk, tell the guest he or she has drunk too much and alcohol is off limits. Take the guest aside and offer a place to sleep it off.

If another guest is a close friend of the intoxicated person, ask that other guest to help.

Prevent falls by clearing walkways and stairs and by providing adequate lighting. WUI (walking under the influence) can also lead to serious injury.        

Follow the example of numerous NFL stadiums and stop serving alcohol when the second half starts. Begin serving coffee and dessert. Remember, coffee does not restore sobriety.

Never let anyone drive who has drunk any alcohol at all, no matter how little. Take the keys. Call a cab or ride-sharing service. Encourage the guest to stay overnight. Don’t let drunk guests out of your sight.

As guests leave, help the designated drivers buckle up every passenger. Buckling up protects occupants from other drivers who may be intoxicated.