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Special DUI enforcement for Super Bowl planned

POSTED February 4, 2011 9:14 p.m.

Whether you’re a Green Bay cheese head or part of the Steeler nation, or just watch for the commercials, the Turlock Police Department is reminding all football fans not to include drinking and driving in the Super Bowl celebrations.

“We want everyone to make the right decision for Super Bowl,” said Turlock Sgt. Neil Cervenka. “Having a designated sober driver should be an obvious call in everyone’s play book. Making sure designated sober drivers know how much we appreciate their responsible decision is what will make this year’s celebration extra special – and extra safe.”

Super Bowl Sunday routinely sees an increase in the number of drunk driving arrests and collisions and law enforcement agencies are partnering with advocacy organizations and the National Football League to spread the message that “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.”

The California Highway Patrol reported four people were killed in alcohol-related crashes statewide and another 119 were injured on Super Bowl Sunday in 2010. The CHP arrested 454 people for driving under the influence during last year’s Super Bowl Sunday.

In the hopes of curbing drunk drivers before they get behind the wheel, the Stanislaus County Avoid the 12 DUI Task Force will be deploying special roving DUI patrols in several communities throughout the area looking to stop and arrest drivers who are impaired.  These DUI patrols are in addition to regularly scheduled patrol officers. Funding for the Avoid DUI Task Force is from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

OTS is also sponsoring a DUI Checkpoint at an undisclosed location in Turlock on Sunday, as well as special roving patrols Friday and Saturday nights in Turlock.

The police department is also asking people to join the NFL in recognizing designated drivers. The Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk message supports the league-wide designated driver campaign called Responsibility Has Its Rewards. The campaign encourages fans to participate in designated driver programs supported by beer and concessionaire companies at every NFL stadium nationwide.  Throughout the season at all 31 NFL stadiums, more than 170,000 fans made the responsible decision by pledging to be designated drivers this season. Now, one of those fans has won the ultimate reward – a trip to Super Bowl XLV in North Texas at Cowboys Stadium.

“We are asking all party hosts and bar owners to take extra good care of designated sober drivers this year,” Cervenka said. “Designated sober drivers make sure everyone gets home safely. For taking on such an important responsibility, they should be rewarded.” 

AAA will be offering their Tipsy Tow program again for drunk drivers. The company will offer free tows for drivers who find themselves too inebriated to drive. The program is open to everyone, including non-members.

AAA will offer the service to drinking drivers from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday in Northern California. Drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders, and restaurant managers can call 1-800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow home of up to 10 miles. Just tell the AAA operator “I need a Tipsy Tow,” and a truck will be dispatched out.

The program does not accept reservations.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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