By Dr. Rob Molloy
If this year’s big game draws the attention that last year’s did, more than 100 million people will be watching the Denver Broncos play the Carolina Panthers. For many, the big game means an opportunity to get friends together watch the game and enjoy a few drinks.
One of the things I enjoy most about preparing for the game are all the interesting stats that are reported. For instance, a 30-second TV commercial for Super Bowl I in 1967 cost, $37,000; in 2015 the same ad would cost a record-setting $4.5 million. The highest-priced ticket for Super Bowl I was $12;for 2015 it was $17,800.
Two numbers, fortunately, have declined a lot. In 1982, the first year that NHTSA tracked highway fatalities through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 21,113 people died in U.S. crashes involving alcohol-impaired driving, representing nearly one-half of all highway fatalities.
By 2014, the number had declined to 9,967, representing almost one in three. But for at least 15 years, that proportion has been stuck at about one in three.
We think that one key to driving this number down is to have a game plan. More than 40 percent of alcohol-related highway deaths occur during weekends, so remember that when you’re planning your party for the big game. By planning ahead football fans can take personal responsibility to make the roads safer this weekend.
If you’re hosting a party that involves alcohol, ensure that all of your guests know the playbook: have a safe, sober ride home. If one doesn’t, they might need some time on the bench… or at least your couch.
The quarterback is said to play the most important position on the field, and the designated sober driver plays the most important role in any group at a Super Bowl party where drinks are served.
If you’re the designated sober driver, as one Super Bowl-winning coach put it, do your job. Enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks.
This Super Bowl Sunday, the winning game plan is to designate your sober driver before the game starts!
If you’re the designated sober driver, considering taking the MADD #DD pledge
Need a sober ride? Check out the links below for programs in your state or the SaferRide mobile app.
For more information on the NTSB’s recommendations to end alcohol-impaired driving visit End Substance Impairment in Transportation.
Dr. Rob Molloy is the Acting Director of the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety.