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DV Pilot police & fire

Here’s the local police Super Bowl drinking/driving game plan

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: NFL teams and fans aren’t the only ones stoked for Super Bowl XLIX: Police have tapped their rosters to have more officers on the road looking for drunk drivers.

“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” Ramsey Police Chief Bryan Gurney said. “All it takes is a little planning.”

Have a designated driver take you home, take a taxi or public transportation or stay at whatever Super Bowl party you’re attending. It’s that simple, Gurney said.

To ensure that you don’t make a bad decision, leave your keys home, he added.

If you must drive, don’t drink — period. Even small amounts of alcohol dull the senses, decrease reaction time and hamper judgment, vision and alertness.

Safety is the primary motivation, of course.

Then there’s the law.

In New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or greater.

However, you still can be convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor even when your BAC is lower than that.

If you consume any amount of alcohol and your driving is negatively impacted, you can be convicted of drunk driving.

Penalties for a first DWI conviction include a fine of up to $500 and a one-year driver’s license suspension. Violators can also expect auto insurance surcharges of several thousand dollars.

And if you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, remember: If you serve a guest alcohol and he or she gets in a drunk-driving crash that night, you could be held liable.

If an underage person drinks and drives, the parent or guardian may be legally liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.

Likewise, parents or other adults who provide alcohol to – or host a party where alcohol is available to – those under age 21, could face jail time.

*      *      *      *      *      *

Are You Drinking?

If so, don’t drive.

Before Super Bowl Sunday, make a game plan that includes a sober driver – someone who is not drinking at all.

Leave your keys at home and designate a sober driver.

Consider getting a sober ride or taxi to your destination, so you won’t even have the option later to drive impaired.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself.

Eat plenty of food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

Keep track of the number of drinks you consume.

Stop drinking after the third quarter, just like they do at the actual stadium.

Make sure your designated driver is sober, not just less intoxicated than you.

Don’t let others drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home, too.

If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come get you; or if possible stay where you are for the night and don’t drive until you are sober.

When you ride home with your sober driver, wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense in a crash.

Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.

Or Are You Driving?

If so, don’t drink. Your responsible choices can save lives.

Take your role seriously as the designated sober driver.

Enjoy the party with food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Brag about your MVP status on social media using the hashtag #designateddriver.

Wear your seat belt and require your passengers to do the same.

If someone you know has been drinking and tries to drive, take their keys and help them get home safely. They’ll thank you later.

Are You Hosting a Super Bowl Party?

Plan now how you’ll prevent your guests from driving drunk and help get them home safely.

Ask all of your guests to designate their sober drivers in advance, or help them arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers. If you plan to stay sober, offer to drive guests home.

Encourage your drinking guests to pace themselves.

Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.

Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter—this is a good time to serve coffee and dessert.

Thank the designated sober drivers at your party. You could even acknowledge them on social media using the hashtag #designateddriver.

Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from any guests who are thinking of driving drunk.

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