Super Bowl Sunday annually is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk driving deaths.
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, make sure you follow some simple rules so that your guests drive home sober. Not only may you be preventing the tragic loss of a friend or loved one, but playing it safe could keep you from being financially responsible for a guest’s drunk driving accident.
Our Fort Myers personal injury attorneys have long supported efforts to combat drunk driving in South Florida, including sobriety checkpoints and the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
While we know that guests need to be responsible when it comes to drinking and driving, those who host Super Bowl parties need to be particularly vigilant.
Under Florida law, a host may be financially responsible if an intoxicated guest injures others or destroys property after leaving a party.
Specifically, Florida law imposes social host liability upon someone who furnishes alcohol to a guest under the legal drinking age of 21. Further, the law imposes liability for injury or property damage when a host “knowingly” serves someone “habitually addicted” to alcoholic beverages, regardless of age.
The problem of social host liability is never more apparent than on Super Bowl Sundays. It has been estimated that 36 percent of motor vehicle fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are attributable to drunk driving.
To address this traffic danger, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants the public to celebrate the Super Bowl responsibly. Reminding everyone that “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk,” the agency has issued a set of safety tips for those who host Super Bowl parties:
* Make sure all guests identify their designated drivers in advance.
* For those without designated drivers, help arrange other transportation for after the game.
* Serve an abundant amount of food to ward off intoxication, and make sure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available for guests.
* Stop serving alcoholic beverages at the end of the third quarter of the Super Bowl. Switch to coffee and dessert.
* Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy.
* Take car keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.
Party goers should follow these safety trips to avoid the perils of drunk driving:
* Those without designated drivers should be prepared to call a cab, ask a sober friend for a ride home, or just stay where they are until the effects of alcohol consumption have worn off.
* Use community sober ride programs.
* Never let friends out of sight if there is a concern that they have had too much to drink and may be about to drive.
The agency tells all of us that buckling up is the best defense against other drivers who are impaired by alcohol.
There were 9,878 people killed in drunk driving accidents in 2011, 31 percent of the total auto accident fatalities in the United States.
If you’ve been injured, contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner for a free consultation at 800.646.1210.