Super Bowl Sunday, the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. It's the biggest game of the year in pro football on Feb. 1. But this Sunday is also the biggest day of the year for alcohol-related car wrecks, at least in California. As Jerry Hirsch reports for the Los Angeles Times, Sunday is the Super Bowl of drunk driving, and Hirsch shows us the numbers to prove it.
"Your chance of being involved in a crash tied to drunk driving," Hirsch writes, "can be as much as double that of a normal Sunday in January or February," based on crash data.
The "raw numbers," according to Hirsch:
- 26 additional DUI-related crashes involving death or injury on Super Bowl Sundays, as compared to other Sundays, for the years 2009-2013
- 77 crashes on Super Bowl Sundays versus 49 on "regular" Sundays in Los Angeles County
- 40 crashes versus 18 crashes in San Diego County (again comparing Super Bowl Sundays versus other Sundays)
These numbers, while interesting and somewhat startling, are still just numbers. They're abstract. They don't show the actual human suffering involved when a person is seriously injured (or a family member killed) in a crash. Alcohol adds another component to the human suffering, i.e. most people would agree that alcohol-related crashes - at least in cases where the driver has clearly exceeded the blood alcohol limit and posed a danger to others on the roadway - are entirely preventable.
To be injured or killed because of someone else's extremely poor judgment only makes the situation worse. If you're an NFL fan, enjoy Super Bowl Sunday, but don't enjoy it at others' expense.