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Hingham police's game plan for Super Bowl Sunday: Prevent drunk driving

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 2, 2012 01:22 PM

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As people gear up for Super Bowl Sunday, buying beer and liquor to consume during the big game, Hingham police are again reminding locals to drive safe and drive sober.

To further the initiative, the department has launched a campaign with The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with support from the National Football League, creating signs that marks the importance of designating a driver.

The message is clear enough – “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.”

“Our message is for everyone to plan ahead. If you will be drinking, plan to have a designated driver so they can get you home safely,” said Hingham Police Sergeant Steven Dearth, “For those who don’t, we will be out there to arrest anyone who chooses to drink and drive.”

As such, Hingham police will deploy additional roving OUI patrols on Sunday night and into Monday morning, looking to stop drivers who may be impaired. The funding for the additional crews will come from a federal community-policing grant awarded to the Hingham police.

Previous initiatives to catch drunk drivers have proven successful.

According to Dearth, in 2011, Hingham officers made 92 arrest for OUI, up from 77 arrests in 2010 - an almost 20% increase.

Preventing and catching drunk driving is crucial, Dearth said, as in 2010 alone, alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 39 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the Massachusetts.

“There is no excuse for anyone to become another statistic,” Dearth said. “On Super Bowl Sunday, make it a team effort to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. If you plan on driving, plan not to drink alcohol…The day after the Super Bowl, the headlines should be about the game, not a fatal crash.”

Tips if you are hosting a Super Bowl party:

- Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers before kick-off or help arrange ridesharing with sober drivers.

- Find unique ways to recognize the designated drivers at your party

- Give them a great spot to watch the game.

- Whatever non-alcoholic beverage they are drinking, make sure their glass is always full.

- Let them have the first pass at the buffet table.

- Make sure the designated drivers cars are easy to access when it is time to start driving people home. Serve plenty of food.

- Offer a variety of non-alcoholic choices like soft drinks, juice, and water.

- Serve one drink at a time and serve measured drinks.

- Only serve alcohol to guests over 21 years of age (MA Social Host law allows for criminal charges for those who allow underage drinking)

- Determine ahead of time when you’ll stop serving alcohol, such as one hour before the party ends or at the end of the third quarter (just like NFL stadiums) and begin serving coffee and dessert.

- Add the numbers of local cab companies into your phone so they are just one touch away.

- Take appropriate steps to prevent anyone from drinking and driving.

- Be prepared for guests to spend the night if an alternative way home is not available.

- Remember, you can be held liable if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.

If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant, Hingham Police have these tips:

- Designate your sober driver before the party begins.

- Remember that 26 Hingham establishments participate in the Designated Driver Program.

- Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

- If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are until you are sober.

- Always buckle up – it’s the best defense against other drunk driving.

- No matter where you go to watch the game, on your way home, report any suspected drunk drivers to the police.

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