Just in time for Super Bowl weekend, traffic safety, law enforcement and alcohol control officials are urging New Jerseyans to be responsible during and after the big game festivities on Sunday.
Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said that people should under no circumstances get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking. Instead, they should plan ahead.
“Many fans will be attending parties at friends’ homes, bars and local restaurants,” Chiesa said. “If your Super Bowl celebration includes alcohol, plan ahead and make sure you have a designated driver. Just taking that simple action will ensure you won’t be putting your life, or the lives of other motorists, in danger.”
Chiesa said the dangers on Sunday are akin to those on New Year’s Eve, because in many cases, people consume alcohol for a similar—and sometimes longer—time period
Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said motorists should pay close attention to pedestrians on Sunday, because certain roads may see increased foot traffic as revelers head home after watching the game.
“In the past few years, we have witnessed an increase in pedestrian fatalities, and in many of those tragedies, alcohol has been a factor both in the behavior of those on their feet, and those behind the wheel,” Poedubicky said. “We’re asking for pedestrians and motorists to share the responsibility on Sunday and take extra precautions to ensure each others’ safety.”
Division of State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said his agency will will be on the roads in huge numbers during the weekend.
“If drinking alcohol is included in your Super Bowl celebration, make sure you have a plan that does not include getting behind the wheel,” Fuentes said. “We will have about 100 additional troopers on patrol to encourage drivers to make safe and sound decisions. Last year Super Bowl Sunday in New Jersey saw just one fatality. I believe we can make that zero deaths for 2013.”
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre called for responsibility from licensees and Super Bowl watchers alike and said the division’s investigation and enforcement team would be in bars and restaurants making sure licensees were carding drinkers and not serving patrons to the point of intoxication.
“Super Bowl Sunday is a great day for our licensed bars and restaurants, but licensees need to remain cognizant of what they serve to their customers,” Halfacre said. "The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is asking patrons to be aware of the amount of alcohol they consume and reminding establishments that it is their responsibility not to serve intoxicated patrons.”
Poedubicky offered the public some vital tips from the Division of Highway Traffic Safety on how to enjoy the big game responsibly:
- Designate a sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys. Consider using a taxi cab or car service, or ask a sober family member or friend to come and get you, or spend the night where you are.
- Report impaired drivers in New Jersey by dialing #77. You’ll be asked to provide the location and a brief description of the vehicle.
- If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive or escort you to your doorstep.
If you're hosting a Super Bowl party, officials have tips for you too:
- Make sure there’s ample food and non-alcoholic beverages available.
- Stop serving alcohol at the beginning of the third quarter of the game. Instead, offer guests coffee and dessert.
- Be sure that all guests have designated their drivers in advance, or help to arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
- Have the phone number of a local cab company available, and always take the keys away from anyone who may be thinking of driving after drinking.