Super Bowl Sunday: one of the deadliest days

By George A. Suber, Army Substance Abuse Program, JBM-HHFebruary 3, 2023

Hand holding keys
Army Substance Abuse Program specialists warn that alcohol-related fatalities are much more prevalent during the Super Bowl and urge military personnel to behave responsibly. Learn how to keep yourself and others safer this Super Bowl Sunday (Photo Credit: G. Anthonie Riis) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. – When it comes to drunk driving, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the country’s most deadly days.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you must “Know the Score.” In the two hours it takes to watch the Super Bowl, three people will lose their lives to drunk driving.

Overall, 30 percent of all traffic related deaths involve alcohol. In 2020, 11,654 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Never getting behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking is the key to winning the game.

Alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes cost more than an estimated $44 billion annually.

Most Americans already believe impaired driving is dangerous; still, there are about 300,000 alcohol-impaired trips every day.

During Super Bowl Sunday, nearly half of all U.S. traffic fatalities are alcohol-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so it’s important to have a game-plan to combat this often-deadly opposition.

Planning for a safe sober ride home is critical to saving lives during Super Bowl weekend.

In advance of this year’s game, the JBM-HH Army Substance Abuse Program office is offering several safe celebrating tips to prevent drunk driving on the Super Bowl weekend.

If attending a Super Bowl party:
  • Plan and designate a driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys if you’re celebrating with alcohol.
  • Use alternative transportation like taxi cabs, Uber and Lyft. Ride with friends that are not drinking or use mass public transit to get to the party spot.
  • Always buckle-up. Seatbelts are still your best defense against other impaired drivers.
  • Never let a friend leave your sight, if you think they are about to drive while impaired. Remember, fans never let fans drive drunk.
If hosting a Super Bowl party:
  • Do not force drinks on your guests or rush to refill their glasses when empty.
  • Do not serve anyone who appears to be impaired or drunk.
  • Serve plenty of food when alcohol is being served. High-protein foods like meats and cheese stay in the stomach longer, thereby slowing the body’s alcohol absorption rate.
  • Use a noncarbonated base in alcoholic punches. The body absorbs alcohol faster when mixed with carbonization.
  • Designate a bartender, and don’t let guests mix their own drinks. This is a way to monitor an individual’s alcohol intake.
  • Have several jiggers or self-measuring one-ounce bottle spouts at the bar to mix drinks. Guests are less likely to drink excessively when standard measures are used.
  • Serve and offer nonalcoholic beverages throughout the event as an option.
  • Never serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.
  • Close the bar at least an hour before the event ends.
  • Check everyone before they leave the event to ensure their soberness and safety. Never allow an impaired guest to get behind the wheel. Ensure they wear their seatbelts.

On Feb. 12, as we prepare to watch the battle for the Vince Lombardi trophy and The Super Bowl LVII half time show, let’s also prepare to be responsible in our thoughts and actions about alcohol. Remember, about one in three traffic deaths involve alcohol.

Buzzed or blitzed, no matter what you call it, if you’re drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. Don’t drive impaired. And may the best team win!

For more joint base news, visit: