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Santa Clara County, CA. Did you know there is an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes on Super Bowl Sunday? A 10-year (2002-2011) fatal and injury crash study* done by the Automobile Club of Southern California found that drinking and driving crashes in California were 75 percent greater on Super Bowl Sunday than on other comparable Sundays in January and February. Additionally, this percentage increased from 41 percent in a 1994-2002 study done by the Auto Club.

642 alcohol-related fatal crashes have occurred in California on Super Bowl Sunday according to the 2002-2011 study.  

Whether you are having or going to a party, the Trauma Program at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center would like to offer these tips for a healthy & safe Game Plan for Super Bowl Sunday.


The following tips can help reduce the incidence of alcohol related injuries:

  • Identify a designated driver before the party and use them as a ride if you have been drinking alcohol.
  • If you cannot find a designated driver, think about staying where you are for the night.
  • Have the telephone number of a cab company and keep with you so you can easily access the call.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol too quickly.
  • To slow the absorption of alcohol, eat food and drink water during the party.  Avoid salty foods which can encourage more drinking.
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol, even if they have had only a small amount.
  • Buckle your seat belt each time you drive.  Ensure your passengers are all buckled as well.
  • If you think someone on the road is driving impaired, stay at a distance. Pull over and call 9-1-1 to report the issue.
  • Remember:  If you’re under 21, do not consume alcohol.  It’s against the law.

  • If hosting a Super Bowl party, ask to hold car keys from guests and return them when they leave if they have not been drinking. Stop serving alcohol 1 hour before the end of the party.  Offer guests more food and dessert.
  • Do not serve alcohol to anyone under age 21 if you are hosting a party.  It’s against the law and you will be held liable.

Drinking and driving is an all too familiar and tragic combination. It is everyone’s responsibility to create a healthy community environment.  Awareness and taking simple measures will help make Super Bowl Sunday XLVII a truly enjoyable event.

* Both studies excluded the New Year’s, President’s Day and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday periods in January and February.


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