West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Awareness: Football, Alcohol, Driving a Deadly Combination

Who are you rooting for this weekend?

The Miami Dolphins, the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Perhaps it’s the Seminoles, the Gators or the Hurricanes?

As we enter football season, our West Palm Beach injury attorneys urge you to celebrate responsibly and to take a pledge with your friends and family not to drink and drive. Unfortunately, the risks for drunk driving accidents increase in South Florida with the start of the college and pro football season. And they continue to increase as we head into the fall travel season and the trio of year-end holidays.

School buses are back on the road. And motorcycles will be out in force as the winter riding season gets under way. Snowbirds and tourists will also begin a trickle in October that will become an outright flood after Thanksgiving.

The correlation between football season and drunk driving accidents has garnered an increasing amount of attention as the popularity of football — and particularly of tailgating — has grown in recent years. A study by the University of Colorado found football attendance has increased by more than 10 million in the last decade. A look at arrest records in 26 college towns found that the number of drunk driving arrests increased 13 percent on game day. The number of alcohol violations increased by a whopping 76 percent. An upset win or loss at home was associated with the highest increase in number of arrests and citations.

This year, for the third year in a row, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is partnering with the National Football League to encourage attendees to celebrate responsibly, to designate a driver, and to find a safe ride home. MADD will have booths in multiple pro stadiums on game day. The campaign will also utilize parking lot signs and other tools to promote safety awareness.

The primary message of the campaign is “play the most important position in the NFL – the designated driver!” Those hosting parties are also encouraged to do so responsibly to help ensure friends and family arrive home safe.

The Florida Highway Patrol offers the following tips for hosting a responsible party:

-Don’t rely on coffee to sober up a guest. Only time will do so. The best policy is to stop serving alcohol well before the end of a game.

-Don’t attempt to determine someone’s level of intoxication by their appearance.

-Responsible hosts know they have a duty to help make sure guests get home safely. Have the number of a taxi service handy and be prepared for overnight guests.

-Have plenty of planned activities, including games and door prizes. This can help guests consume less alcohol.

-Have plenty of food. Avoid salty snacks, which can cause guests to drink more.

-Offer plenty of non-alcoholic drink options.

-Never serve alcohol to someone under the age of 21.

-Promote the use of a designated driver.

-Offer to make drinks and use less alcohol.

Don’t fall for the myth that wine or beer is less intoxicating than hard liquor. A glass of wine, a can of beer and a shot of hard liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol. While each person is a bit different, a man can generally consume four drinks before reaching the legal limit of .08 — the average is 3 drinks for women.

The body metabolizes one drink per hour. Theoretically, that means you can drink one drink per hour over that threshold and remain below the legal limit of .08. However, the best policy is to pledge never to drive after you have been drinking. Alcohol impacts your judgment. So creating this zero-tolerance policy with yourself is the best way to ensure you stay safe and out from behind the wheel whenever you have consumed alcohol.