January 31, 2020—– Beer and other alcoholic beverages will be on the menu for many watching the Chiefs versus the Forty-Niners Sunday. But driving after drinking alcohol and/or doing drugs at a watch party can be deadly. AAA Oklahoma is urging all football fans to call the right play this weekend by passing the keys to a sober driver before the big game – and drinking - begins.
Last year the day of the football frenzy, two people died in wrecks and there were 53 crashes resulting in injuries in Oklahoma, according to Cody McDonell, Communications Manager for the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “Seven of the injury crashes were alcohol-related and one was drug-related.” The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reports that 158 people were killed on Oklahoma roads in 2018 in alcohol-related crashes.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, along with the ENDUI team and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, will be stepping up enforcement and education efforts this weekend,” said McDonell.
“You can be your party’s MVP by volunteering to be a designated driver to help your family and friends get home safely,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson. “Drunk and drugged driving only leads to disaster and tragedy, and is never worth the risk. If you do plan to drink or use drugs, remember to pass the keys to the sober driver before kickoff.”
AAA urges party hosts to celebrate safely with these tips:
- Ask guests to pre-plan for a designated driver who will enjoy delicious mocktails you provide and drive the group home. Visit AAA.com/mocktail for festive, alcohol-free drink options.
- Collect all drivers' keys in a bowl when guests arrive and monitor the sobriety of guests as they leave.
- Mix drinks yourself; avoid open bars. Limit mixing drinks with carbonated beverages; they increase alcohol absorption.
- Close your bar 90 minutes before your party is over. Don't offer, "one for the road."
- Only TIME can make guests sober- not coffee or cold showers. It takes about 1 hour to burn off an average drink, 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1 ½ ounces of liquor. They all contain about the same amount of alcohol.
- Designate someone who's not drinking to assess guests when they are ready to leave and make sure they are not intoxicated. The 'roadwise' host is in charge of the bowl of keys and hands them out only to those who aren't showing signs of intoxication.
- Guests who are sleepy, giddy, overly talkative or uncoordinated are under the influence. Arrange rides for them or invite them to sleep over. If guests get irate, 'hide' their keys until they find a ride home.
- The first ability affected by alcohol is judgment and decision-making. For some people, it only takes one drink for reflexes and judgment needed for driving to be impaired. It's not a weakness. It's a reality.
- If a guest would be unsafe behind the wheel, call a ride share service like Lyft or Uber.
Visit PreventDUI.AAA.com for impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice. AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.