SOMERVILLE — Super Bowl parties will abound on Sunday with plenty of food and drink to be had by all.
With that in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Somerset County’s law enforcement authorities are urging football fans to drink responsibly, choosing a designated driver before kickoff who can get everyone home safety, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday in a news release.
NHTSA’s “Fans Don’t Lets Fans Drive Drunk” campaign is focused on making people aware of the perils of buzzed or drunk driving before Super Bowl XVIX on Sunday between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks in Phoenix, Arizona. Irresponsible drinking can result in injury or death to you and/or others on the road.
According to data from NHTSA, in 2012 there were 10,322 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the United States—31 percent of all crash fatalities in the nation. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states. Sunday, don’t become a tragic Super Bowl stat.
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“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano. “All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice. Drink or drive—but never do both.”
North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti, president of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police, said that those who plan to drink should leave their keys at home and makes plans to get home via a designated driver or take a taxi or public transportation. He said being a designated drive could save a life.
As part of the Somerset Campaign, Big Heads Pub in Hillsborough, Southside Grille & Restaurant in South Bound Brook, Rolf’s Restaurant and Pub in Warren, Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar in Raritan, Wasabi and Verve in Somerville and Lexus and BMW car dealerships in Bridgewater have agreed to promote the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers.
Bill Elliott and his wife, Muriel, started the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers in memory of their son, U.S. Navy Ensign John R. Elliott, who was killed in a collision with a drunk driver in July 2000.
While at the U.S. Naval Academy, Ens. Elliott was selected as a Human Education Resource Officer (HERO) to counsel and mentor other members of his company and was named “the outstanding HERO” of his graduating class. Ens. Elliott was killed two months after graduating from the academy.
Dave Hutchinson may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DHutch_SL. Find NJ.com on Facebook.