Whether you tune in for the game, the half-time show or the commercials, the National Football League’s Super Bowl LV on February 7 is one of America’s favorite annual celebrations. If you are hosting a virtual watch party, attending a socially-distanced gathering or heading to a restaurant or bar, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) wants you to celebrate responsibly.
“While Mississippians are following health officials by quarantining and practicing social distancing, we know festivities will still occur,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT Executive Director. “If your celebration involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. Remind your friends and family: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.”
In 2019, 10,142 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year since 2014. These fatalities are preventable, and drivers must remember that driving impaired by any substance — alcohol or other drugs — is illegal and potentially deadly behavior.
The consequences of impaired driving can also be expensive. Impaired drivers face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates and many other unanticipated expenses, including attorney’s fees, court costs, and lost wages due to time off from work. The average DUI costs approximately $10,000.
Take a page from MDOT’s playbook to help you arrive at your destination safely:
· No false starts. Buckle up: Every seat, every time.
· Avoid interference. Put down phones and other distractions so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
· Have a game plan. If you intend to consume alcohol or other substances, make sure you have a designated driver or a taxi to take you home.
· Be an MVP. Choose to be a designated driver and keep your team safe.
· Call an audible, if necessary. If your plans change, call a taxi or sober driver to get you home.
· Stay focused. Be alert for other drivers and don’t assume everyone is driving as safely as you are.
· Throw a flag. If you suspect someone is driving impaired, call the police when it is safe to do so.
“Traveling on Mississippi highways takes teamwork and cooperation,” McGrath said. “We can all be on the winning team by celebrating responsibly and never driving impaired.”