As Americans, we're well-acquainted with the Super Bowl staples - ketchup-drenched hot dogs, endless BBQ wings, and a cold beer - or two. Its the last of these items that tends to draw the attention of law enforcement, particularly when a beer or two turns into one too many. In recent years, measures to prevent DUI's on our nation's biggest game day have grown by leaps and bounds. As the football extravaganza approaches, so do a barrage of headlines about "spikes," "inflations," "crackdowns," and "step-ups" for DUI enforcement. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a jurisdiction in the United States whose law enforcement doesn't amp up patrols before, during, and after the Super Bowl. Admirably, a New Jersey news outlet called designated drivers the "true champions" of Super Bowl weekend.
This year is set to be a big one for Georgians, who saw their Atlanta Falcons “rise up” to the occasion in true Falcon fashion. But with that pride comes an increased reason to celebrate, and in turn, drink. Cognizance about the problems that too many beers can create as well as good planning are all one needs, in theory, to avoid a DUI arrest, but some circumstances are unforeseeable. It's worth noting that Georgia actually ranks 4th, tying with Iowa, for the lowest percentage of fatal crashes in which the driver's BAC was above the legal limit, according to a 2012 graphic by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Georgia governor's office is urging caution for Georgian drivers going into the weekend, saying in a statement “If you are hosting a party this weekend, make your guests hand over their keys when they arrive and only give them back if they are sober to drive when they leave.” While various local groups are urging viewing party hosts to offer non-alcoholic beverages to guests, the Mayor of Atlanta is seeking to foster the celebratory mood in the state. He signed an executive order extending hours for the sale of alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday, pushing them to 2:30 am Monday.
New Year's Eve may take the cake as America's biggest drinking holiday, but Forbes magazine still gave the sporting event the distinguished title of “One of America's Drunkest Days.” According to BACtrack, the makers of a smartphone-enabled breathalyzer, average BAC readings on Super Bowl Sunday don't deviate much from those on St. Patricks Day, Cinco de Mayo, New Year's Eve, and surprisingly Valentine's Day.
If you choose to drink on Super Bowl Sunday, your options for avoiding a DUI are aplenty. With increased patrol presence, staying off the road and protecting others, as well as your driver's license, is a top priority. Budweiser recently teamed with AAA, offering the Tow To Go program Friday through 6 am Monday. Georgia drivers will be offered a free ride and tow of their vehicle to a safe location. The service is available to AAA members and nonmembers alike and is funded by Budweiser. To find out if your area is serviced by Tow to Go and to request a tow, call 855-2-TOW-2-GO or 855-286-9246. As a note, Tow to Go may not be available in rural areas or during severe weather conditions. Uber, Lyft, and regular taxi services will also be readily available, as usual, for individuals too impaired to drive. Rides can be requested through the app at any time.
Should you find yourself under arrest for drinking and driving this weekend, please do not hesitate to contact Forsyth County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson. You can reach us by calling our office at (404) 816-4440 or contact us online. Have a fun -- and safe -- Super Bowl weekend.