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Law enforcement plans to call a time out on drunk driving
drunk driving super bowl logo

For those planning to make a party out of the Super Bowl, law enforcement in Stanislaus County is telling them to pick a side: Drink or drive.

“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Acting Chief Brent Smith with the Ceres Police Department. “All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice. Drink or drive — but never do both.”

The Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. The Avoid the 12 Stanislaus DUI Task Force will be deploying roving DUI Saturations Patrols during and following Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup.  Officers will deploy into communities where collision data reveals high incidents of DUI crashes and arrests.

According to the California Highway crash data, there is a 77 percent increased risk of alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes throughout California on Super Bowl Sunday.

"Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest one-day sporting event in the United States and unfortunately one of the most dangerous days on California's roads and highways," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Deaths caused by DUI drivers are preventable. Every one of us has a responsibility to ensure we do not contribute to the problem by allowing a drunk or drugged driver to hit the road on Super Bowl Sunday."

For those revelers who may have consumed too much alcohol, AAA offers a free tow home, including the vehicle.

AAA’s Tipsy Tow program keeps drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and is open to everyone. A driver does not need to be an AAA Member to take advantage of this service to the community.

The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver’s home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver’s home as long as there is room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck.  Reservations for the service are not available.

“Everybody wants to have fun at a Super Bowl party,” said Cynthia Harris, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “But be aware that as little as one drink can impair vision, steering, braking, judgment, and reaction time. If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. Give AAA a call and we’ll make sure you get home safely.”

AAA will offer the service to drinking drivers from 6 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, to 6 a.m. Monday in Northern California. Drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders and restaurant managers can call 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 on its way.

AAA estimates that a first-time DUI conviction in California can cost approximately $15,649 or more in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Costs related to DUI have risen sharply in recent years mostly due to a large increase in fines and insurance for DUI drivers. The estimated cost of a first-offense misdemeanor DUI for those under age 21 is $21,500.

Avoid the 12 DUI Task Force funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.