On Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m., Super Bowl LII kicks off in Minneapolis between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Football fans all over the country will gather at bars and Super Bowl parties cheering on the teams, watching the halftime show and laughing at the commercials.

In many cases, they will also be drinking. According to the Food&Wine website, those who plan to drink will spend an average of $44 on alcoholic beverages on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s enough to put anyone over the limit for driving.

In Kentucky — just as in the other 49 states — drivers are legally impaired if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or more. Drunk driving accounted for 10,497 deaths in 2016 in collisions where at least one driver was impaired. Of that total number, 7,052 — 67 percent — died in accidents where a driver’s BAC was .15, nearly double the legal limit.

But even when that worst-case scenario doesn’t play out, an impaired driver can still face the adverse consequences of a DUI arrest.

Safety campaign launches for game day

Just in time for the big game, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with local and state police departments in a joint safety campaign, Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.

The focus of the agencies’ efforts is to encourage those who plan on drinking at Super Bowl parties at bars and friends’ homes to have a solid game plan for securing a sober ride home. That might be with a nondrinking friend, public transportation, taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

In addition, the NHTSA offers the SaferRide Mobile App as a resource for football fans who have tossed back a few too many to locate sober rides back home. The app works by identifying the user’s location and coordinating a ride to ensure he or she arrives at his or her destination unscathed and without endangering others.

DUIs can derail promising lives

Getting arrested (let alone convicted) of drunk driving can disrupt every aspect of your life. Be wise and don’t drive drunk. If you wind up arrested for DUI, make sure that you protect your constitutional rights against self-incrimination until you can speak with your defense attorney.

Source: United States Department of Transportation, “Don’t Fumble: Tackle Drunk Driving Before the Clock Starts,” Jan. 23, 2018