The widely anticipated Super Bowl XLVII Sunday showdown of the San Francisco 49ers versus the Baltimore Ravens will kick-off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time.
Our Montgomery personal injury lawyers are expecting a great game. Unfortunately, we're also expecting a spike in DUI car accidents this weekend and into the early hours of Monday morning as well.
It's the most popular broadcast on television, with some 130 million American viewers tuning in live each year.
A 2003 study conducted by the researchers at the University of Toronto and published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined nationwide DUI crash statistics for nearly 30 consecutive Super Bowl games.
The study showed that overall, the number of crashes in the hour after the game ends jumps by nearly 70 percent.
Most people would say the reasons why are fairly simple: People drink alcohol when they watch football, and are sometimes irresponsible and get behind the wheel after doing so. This is true, but there are a number of other contributing factors as well. For example, the game doesn't typically end until late in the evening. Statistically, more crashes happen at night and this also contributes to driver fatigue. Additionally, there is a lot of "Monday morning quarterbacking" that goes on during the drive home - replaying all the what-if's and recounting all the best or most disappointing plays. This inevitably contributes to driver inattention.
This phenomena is more pronounced among fans whose team has just lost. In fact, researchers found that while DUI crashes rose by 68 percent in states where the home team lost, they increased by just 6 percent in states where the home team won. Overall "neutral" states saw an increase of about 50 percent.
In general, we know that alcohol is involved in nearly 40 percent of all fatal traffic accidents claiming the lives of 16 to 20-year-olds. Unfortunately, many professional football players aren't setting a prime example for these youth, with many recent headlines chastising the National Football League for its seemingly laissez faire attitude regarding numerous players arrested for drunk driving. USA Today sports writer Jarrett Bell scolded the agency saying it "should be ashamed of its weak DUI policy."
Law enforcement officials have known anecdotally for years that DUI crashes and arrests climbed significantly on Super Bowl Sunday, prompting them to organize checkpoints and roving patrols in an effort to nab offenders. This year will be no different. Alabama authorities have pledged to be out in full force.
Sadly, they won't catch everyone. We encourage all Super Bowl fans to consider the following before kick-off:
- Before the party starts, designate a sober driver.
- Pace your alcohol consumption by alternating with non-alcoholic drinks and eat plenty of food.
- If it comes time to leave and you are drunk or buzzed without a designated driver, call a friend, call a taxi or stay where you are. Whatever you do, don't get behind the wheel.
- If you see a friend about to drive drunk, intervene.
Call Allred & Allred P.C. at 1-866-942-9315 to speak with a personal injury attorney today.
Auto Club says Sunday is the Super Bowl of drunk-driving crashes, Jan. 30, 2013, By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
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Report: Alabama Car Accident Prevention Laws Need Improvement, Jan. 27, 2013, Alabama Car Accident Lawyer Blog