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The best Super Bowl party, whether it's at your house, or a local pub or two, is the one from which you return home safely. We all know what a great tradition it's become; and for many the festivities get started well before kick-off and sometimes continue long after the 4th quarter 'pool money' has been dispersed...
Last year’s Super Bowl put up some sobering statistics: Drunken drivers caused 43 percent of all traffic fatalities on game day in 2013, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
That one day’s numbers, when compared to an average of 31 percent for that year as a whole, signals a real problem.
More of the intoxicated drivers tend to be from bars and restaurants than house parties, said Police Sgt. Jason Halifax, of the Des Moines Police Department.
Even if you aren't the one behind the wheel, pay attention to other drivers.
If you suspect someone near you on the road is driving drunk, Sgt. Halifax says to call police and then get away from the driver.
And if you're hosting a party and providing the alcohol, then there's some liability you may be on the hook for," added Halifax.
If you plan on hosting a party that involves alcohol, there are some things to think about before guests start arriving. Many bartenders are taught how to watch for over-served guests, especially during sporting events.
"When their team starts to do poorly, people tend to drink more, or just in general they don't really notice how much they're drinking cause they're just grabbing their drink and intently watching the game," said Jason Olinghouse, a bar operations manager.
If you're the one serving alcohol, you have a responsibility to keep guests safe and take all precautions to keep intoxicated friends off the road.
And if you're serving mixed drinks, make sure that you're clear with guests how much alcohol has been added to avoid accidental over-serving.
"Go the extra mile and make sure you're not sending your friend home, or you're not sending your guest or customer home if they've had too much to drink," says Olinghouse.
If you're going to drink at this year's Super Bowl, make sure you have a backup plan to get home. If you or a friend has had too much to drink, offer to let them sleep on a couch, or call a cab or a friend who’s a designated driver to provide a ride.
Whether you're headed to a bar or a friend's house, put the phone number of a local cab company in your wallet. Remember, on just a few drinks you're more than likely legally impaired. Plan ahead and don't risk it.