A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AAA reminding Kentuckians to make Sunday’s Super Bowl about safety and fun, not COVID and crashes

While festivities for Sunday’s big game will certainly look different due to the pandemic, AAA is advising Kentucky’s football fans to make the right call and have a plan in place for safe and sober driving.

According to data from the Kentucky State Police, 2021 is getting off to a wrong start, with 47 fatalities due to crashes versus zero fatalities during this same period last year. Alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities often spike on holidays and popular drinking days, like Super Bowl Sunday. Drunk driving can be deadly, and even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgement to make driving unsafe.

Since the start of 2021, there have been 280 crashes involving alcohol on Kentucky Roads, according to Kentucky State Police data. Drug involvement was linked to 144 crashes, with 3 fatalities and 89 injuries. Combined, alcohol and drug involvement were responsible for 205 injuries and 10 fatalities since the start of the year alone.

“Drinking and driving is not a game – it’s a deadly combination and a crime – both of which are 100 percent preventable,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, AAA public and government affairs manager. “Make your winning drive a sober one and designate a driver before you indulge in game-day spirits. Don’t fumble when it comes to safety.”

That includes state health warnings about mask wearing and social distancing, as well as avoiding gatherings that can spread the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. When alcohol is involved, people tend to loosen their inhibitions and suffer from lapses in judgment.

To strengthen efforts to protect the public against drunk drivers and reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths, AAA is offering important safety advice to motorists and passengers:

• Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.

• Never get behind the wheel of a car when you have been drinking alcohol―even after just one drink.

• Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol―even after just one drink.

• Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.

• Use Uber, Lyft, or call a taxi. Put numbers for local cab/ridesharing companies in your phone before heading out for the evening.

• Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe. Always offer alcohol-free beverages.

• If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).

• Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs can also impair your ability to drive safely.

AAA works year-round to educate the public on the dangers of impaired driving in an effort to reduce traffic-related crashes and injuries. Visit PreventDUI.AAA.com for impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice. AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.

From AAA Bluegrass

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