Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial national holiday, with the same enjoyable customs of a regular holiday: We gather with family and friends and plenty of food and drink to celebrate one of the world’s largest sporting events.
The party atmosphere carries risks similar to other holiday celebrations. According to the Auto Club (www.calif.aaa.com) and the California Department of Insurance (www.insurance.ca.gov), there is a 77 percent increased risk of alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes throughout California on Super Bowl Sunday. In Los Angeles County, the crash rate increases 57 percent, and San Diego County sees a 117 percent rise. The figures reflect an Auto Club analysis of California Highway Patrol crash data from 5 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday through 4 a.m. the following day. The data cover the five Super Bowls played from 2009 through 2013 and were compared to crash rates for the other Sundays in January and February.
Narver Insurance advises everyone to write a “game plan” of safety measures to avoid the increased risk of drinking and driving that could injure or kill you, friends or family, or other innocent people.
For many of us, one deterrent to drinking and driving is the enormous economic expense of a DUI citation. The Auto Club estimates that a first-time misdemeanor conviction can cost up to $15,649 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees, and increased insurance costs. Attorneys who are arrested could also be subject to disciplinary actions by the State Bar, costing more legal fees and untold economic damage to your legal reputation and practice. The estimated cost of a first-offense misdemeanor DUI for a driver under 21 years of age is $21,500. That doesn’t include social host liability issues for the owner of the house where the minor was served. You can read the full text of California Civil Code Sec. 1714 (d) (1), the law that governs host liability in the event of an injury or death caused by a intoxicated minor, at http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/CIV/5/d3/3/s1714. The law states in part:
- (c) Except as provided in subdivision (d), no social host who furnishes alcoholic beverages to any person may be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person, or for injury to the person or property of, or death of, any third person, resulting from the consumption of those beverages.
- (d) (1) Nothing in subdivision (c) shall preclude a claim against a parent, guardian, or another adult who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at his or her residence to a person whom he or she knows, or should have known, to be under 21 years of age, in which case . . . the furnishing of the alcoholic beverage may be found to be the proximate cause of resulting injuries or death.
Safety tips for Super Bowl party hosts
- Review your homeowner’s policy and other insurance coverage to determine if there are exclusions or limitations regarding accidents in your home, or social host liability. Narver sells a $5 million dollar umbrella policy for only $600/ year that would cover most injuries occurring in your home.
- Never allow minors to drink alcohol in your home.
- Consider hiring a professional bartender to manage alcohol service in your home.
- Encourage everyone to focus on the football game. Do not allow drinking games or contests.
- Serve lots of food, particularly high-protein dishes, and include plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.
- Ask all of your guests to designate their drivers in advance, or help arrange ride sharing with sober drivers.
- Stop serving alcohol during the middle of the third quarter. Bring out the coffee and the desserts.
- Make a list of local cab companies and provide copies of the Auto Club’s “Tipsy Tow” service to hand out to your guests. Prepare yourself to take away the keys from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired. It is sometimes difficult to do, but you could be sparing yourself heartache and great financial harm.
If You Are a guest at a Super Bowl Party
- Avoid drinking too much too fast. Eat and enjoy the great party food, and take breaks from alcoholic beverages by alternating with water, juice drinks and soda.
- For those who bring teenage children to the party, be a good guest and do not put your hosts in a position of social host liability by allowing any minor to drink alcoholic beverages.
- If you are going to drink, designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your vehicle keys.
- Don’t even think about getting behind the wheel if you are impaired. There are many alternatives for you to get home safely such as calling a taxi or the Auto Club’s “Tipsy Tow Service.” The Tipsy Tow Service is available from 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, to 6 a.m. on Monday, Feb 2.The service is unique because it transports both the driver and the vehicle. It is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride only for the driver and is limited to the driver’s residence. Rides for passengers are excluded. The service is free up to seven miles from the party; regular towing charges apply for longer distances. To call for a “Tipsy Tow” dial 1-800-4AAA.
- Remember the old but valuable saying: Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are considering driving while impaired.
To borrow another phrase from football, stay in-bounds this Sunday. Enjoy the game and the party responsibly, and get home safely.Tags: Automobile Club of southern California, Calif. Civil Code sec. 1714, Designated Driver, Driving Under the Influence, Safety, Social Host Liability, Super Bowl Sunday 2015