Football Season Marks Increased Risk Of Drunk Driving Collisions

Researchers published a study on the association between alcohol-related arrests and college football, which is available on the website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health.

The study involved looking at a period of 30 days in locations with a well-performing Division I football team. Researchers looked at arrests that occurred during this time.

Over the 30-day period, there were 944 arrests for driving while impaired or other crimes related to excessive alcohol use. An average of 70.3 alcohol-related arrests occurred on Saturdays when football games were going on. There were 10 Saturdays included in the study period that were football game days when games were played.

The researchers also looked at 10 “control” days when there were no football games played. On these days, there were an average of just 12.3 arrests related to alcohol violations. Finally, the researchers looked at holiday periods. On these days, there were an average of 11.8 arrests involving alcohol use.

Not only were there significantly more arrests during football season, but the arrests that did occur happened closer to the stadiums than on days when there were no games.

The researchers concluded based on this data that public safety campaigns warning people about the dangers of alcohol consumption on holidays had been at least marginally effective. The researchers also concluded that high-profile sports events increased binge drinking and alcohol crimes and that more public education is necessary to reduce drunk driving when sports events occur.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has identified a link between professional football and intoxicated driving as well. On Super Bowl Sunday in 2012, an average of 43 percent of collisions that occurred involved an intoxicated driver. Over the course of the entire year, just 31 percent of crashes had a driver who was drunk. The Super Bowl and early morning hours immediately thus had a disproportionate number of drunk driving collisions.

MADD joined forces with the National Football League in a partnership that has continued for the past four years. MADD indicates that it has been effective at helping football teams reduce the number of sign-ups for a non-drinking designated driver by 28 percent each year. Representatives attend football games and provide information to game attendees on drunk driving. Fans are also encouraged to select a designated driver prior to the game starting.

Many football fans may do more than just enjoy the game; some will consume alcohol and then drive home. Hopefully, educational campaigns like this will help draw attention to the problems of football and impaired driving, and fans can make smart choices this football season to reduce the risk that a collision will occur. If an accident does happen in South Carolina, a lawyer from Howell & Christmas can help victims make a damage claim. If you or a loved one is involved in a collision with an impaired driver, you have legal rights. Contact us for a free consultation.

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