Tennessee Highway Safety Office reminds fans to drive sober

TENNESSEE (WDEF) – Today, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) was joined by the Tennessee Titans, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, and other traffic safety partners for a press event at Nissan Stadium to help prevent impaired-driving crashes during Super Bowl weekend.

“Last year, there were 76 crashes and one fatality related to impaired driving during Super Bowl weekend,” said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. “In 2015, there were 77 crashes and four fatalities. The most valuable player during the Super Bowl is you. We need you to hand the keys off to a sober driver. Do not think that you can drink and drive, because our troopers will stop you, and you will go to jail.”

The press event also featured the family of Clifton Braunwalder, a 13-year-old Boy Scout who was struck and killed by an impaired driver in 2014 while changing his mother’s flat tire on Interstate 24. Clifton played football for Saint Rose of Lima Catholic School in Murfreesboro. His sister Louann spoke during the event.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/safetytn/albums/72157679821050816

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMwG7MalRjQ

Also, the THSO is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk reminder to urge all football fans to call the right play on Super Bowl weekend by passing the keys to a sober driver before the drinking begins.

Drunk driving can be deadly. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired when his/her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08 or higher. However, it only takes a small amount of alcohol to impair a driver’s judgment and/or reaction time. In 2015, 10,265 people — 29 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States that year — were killed in crashes that involved an impaired driver, according to the NHTSA.

“Super Bowl Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. If you want to be the MVP of Super Bowl LI, volunteer to be a designated driver to help your family and friends get home safely,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “Drunk driving only leads to disaster and tragedy. It is never worth the risk. If you do plan to drink, remember to pass the keys to the sober driver before kickoff.”

Whether you’re throwing a Super Bowl party or just attending one, now is the time to strategize the most important part of your game plan for the big game: a shutdown defense that prevents drunk driving.

Here are the keys to the game:

Know the Rules: It’s illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. If you drink and drive, you won’t get hit with a yellow flag; you’ll get pulled over, arrested, and prosecuted. Your wallet takes a hit, too; the average DUI costs about $10,000.

Play It Safe: When it comes to safe ride choices, you’ve got more options than the wishbone offense. From buses and trains to car services and designated drivers, connect with the option that will get you home safely. NHTSA even has an app for that—SaferRide—which is available for Apple and Android devices and can connect you to a local cab company or with a friend who can come pick you up. If you’re hosting, make sure your guests have a safe ride home.

Lean on Your MVP: Encourage guests to be sober designated drivers and name them your party’s Most Valuable Players for stepping up.

Know the Score: You already know that, on average, three people will lose their lives to drunk driving just in the time it takes to watch the football game. But did you know that drunk driving accounts for almost one of every three deaths on our roads every year? In 2015 alone, 10,265 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Your winning play is to never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking.

These keys to the game will make sure Super Bowl LI is remembered for a big win rather than a tragic loss of life due to drunk driving. And, however you or your guests travel on Super Bowl Sunday, always buckle up. Your seat belt is your best defense in any vehicle crash.

Categories: Regional News, State News-Tennessee

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