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News Release Header Image

Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Roberto Rodriguez, Director

February 4, 2005
Gary Myerovich (HTS) (609-633-8727

Give Your Keys to a Designated Driver

TRENTON – For thousands of New Jersey residents, Super Bowl Sunday means driving to house parties and neighborhood bars to enjoy the big game. That combination of travel and partying can prove deadly, Attorney General Peter C. Harvey warned.

“Statistics show that Super Bowl Sunday has been super deadly when it comes to alcohol-related traffic fatalities,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Enjoy the game and be safe. If you are drinking at a party, have a designated driver.”

Attorney General Harvey noted figures compiled during the last 10 years by the New Jersey State Police Fatal Analysis Reporting System which show that 71 percent of the fatal crashes that occurred on New Jersey ’s roadways on Super Bowl Sunday were alcohol related. By comparison, the statistics show that, on average, about 32 percent of the fatal crashes on other days were alcohol related.

During the past 10 years, there were 15 alcohol-related traffic deaths on New Jersey’s roadways on Super Bowl Sunday – exactly the same ten-year total that was recorded for the 24 hours beginning at midnight on New Year’s Eve. That is nearly three times the average number for other days of the year. There were five alcohol-related traffic deaths on a single Super Bowl Sunday in New Jersey when the Giants played in 2001.

“Given the potential hours for alcoholic consumption before the final whistle of the game, it’s easy to see why Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most dangerous times of the year when it comes to drinking and driving,” said Roberto Rodriguez, Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Everyone wants to have a good time at Super Bowl parties, but there are simple steps that must be taken to avoid turning a day of fun into a day of tragedy. The first is to designate a sober driver before the game.”

“Don’t bet your life or your license on a gamble like drunk driving,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes of the New Jersey State Police. “This Sunday, state troopers will cover the roads like an All-Pro cornerback shadows a wide receiver.”

“Most road crash fatalities, particularly those which are alcohol related, are preventable. Alcohol dulls your reflexes and impairs your judgment,” said Steven Ross, M.D., Division Head, Level I Trauma Center at Cooper University Hospital in Camden , where the most severely injured accident victims in South Jersey are taken. “Before you begin any drinking, arrange for your designated driver or plan in advance to stay overnight at the place where you are drinking. And remember to give up your keys. This can help to save your life and the lives of others.”

Safety Tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

If you are attending a Super Bowl party:

  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself - eat, take breaks, alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your vehicle keys.
  • If impaired, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel. Ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come and get you; or stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk . Take the keys and never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl Party:

  • Serve lots of food - particularly high-protein dishes - and be sure to include lots of non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game - begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Be sure all of your guests designate their drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety wants you to be a winner on Super Bowl Sunday.

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