Police warn against drunken driving on Super Bowl Sunday

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Local,Crime,Naomi Jagoda,Super Bowl

Football fanatics and casual fans will flock to parties at friends' homes and bars Sunday to watch the Super Bowl.

But authorities around the D.C. area want to make sure the celebrating doesn't lead to drunken driving, and law-enforcement agencies in the region will be looking out for intoxicated motorists.

Each of the 22 Maryland State Police barracks will have additional patrols on Sunday that will focus on impaired drivers. Troopers who are on their regular patrols on Sunday will also target drunken drivers when they are not responding to service calls, police said.

On Super Bowl Sunday last year, Maryland state troopers arrested 38 people for drunken driving. State Police spokesman Sgt. Marc Black said that the agency normally has extra patrols during the Super Bowl, but there may be more people celebrating in the state this year because the Baltimore Ravens are playing in the game.

"We want everyone to be able to have a safe celebration and to cheer for the Ravens!" Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Marcus Brown said in a news release.

People headed to a house party or a bar on Sunday should designate a sober driver before the game starts, authorities said. If they neglect to do so but still get buzzed, they should ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a friend, family member or taxi to pick them up; or stay where they are after the game until they sober up.

But people who are traveling to Super Bowl events aren't the only ones who should take safety precautions. Officials also are encouraging party hosts to make sure their guests have enough food, do not drink excessively and have safe ways to get home.

An irresponsible host could be held liable if a guest gets hurt in a drunken-driving crash, according to Prince William County Fire and Rescue spokesman Robert Wall.

"Their partygoers' safety is part of their responsibility," Wall said.

Lisa Gormley, manager of Caddies on Cordell in Bethesda, said the staff at her bar will help inebriated customers by giving them food and water and arranging taxi rides for them if necessary.

"We've got the number on speed dial," she said.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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Naomi Jagoda

Staff reporter
The Washington Examiner