Auto Club: Super Bowl Sunday is Dangerous for Drinking and Driving

But Injuries and Deaths have Declined in Last 3 Years

(LOS ANGELES, February 2, 2006) — An analysis of Super Bowl Sunday motor vehicle crashes from 1992–2005 indicates that the day of the championship game is particularly dangerous in terms of drinking and driving. But in recent years, 2003–2005, the problem has declined sharply, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The Auto Club analyzed California Highway Patrol data to compare the number of alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes on Super Bowl Sundays with such crashes on non-Super Bowl Sundays in January and February.

"During the first 11 years of the study period, we found an over-representation of alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes the day of the game," said Steven Bloch, Ph.D., senior research associate for the Auto Club. "The proportion of fatal and injury crashes that were alcohol-related was 33 percent greater on Super Bowl Sunday than on comparable Sundays in January and February."

But Bloch noted a change in recent years. "Over the last three years, the increase was far lower, 11 percent. In 2005, there was only a five percent increase, the smallest of the 14-year study period.

Historically, Super Bowl Sunday afternoon and night have ranked among the most dangerous of the year for increased drinking and driving, according to an earlier Auto Club study. That study, "Time to Party," lists New Year's Eve as the most dangerous in terms of increased alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes, followed by late afternoon and evening on Super Bowl Sunday.

"The Auto Club has been publicizing the problem of drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday since 1999. In partnership with law enforcement, it appears that efforts to increase public awareness are paying off," Bloch said.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California typically increase patrols on days that are known to have high levels of drinking and driving. The California Highway Patrol, among other agencies, plan increased enforcement for Super Bowl Sunday.

To help keep drivers and passengers safe on Super Bowl Sunday, the Auto Club recommends these tips:

  • Don't drink and drive.

  • Use a designated driver if you attend a Super Bowl party.

  • Call a friend or family member or a taxi for a ride if you have been drinking.

  • If hosting a Super Bowl party, be responsible. Take car keys from partygoers as they arrive and don't let them drive drunk. Serve non-alcoholic drinks and encourage each group to have a designated driver. Serve protein-rich and starchy foods to slow alcohol absorption.

  • If you observe an erratic driver while on the road, try to stay behind their vehicle, leaving plenty of distance to be out of harm's way.

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest AAA affiliate, has been serving members since 1900. Today, Auto Club members benefit by the organization's roadside assistance, financial products, travel agency and trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs, insurance products and services and automotive pricing, buying and financing programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's web site at