Law enforcement officials will have an emphasis patrol on drunk driving Sunday evening, but the hope is no one will drive impaired after the big game.
The best of friends are honest friends.
Law enforcement throughout Clark County, throughout the state of Washington, and those who run Target Zero, are asking for some honest friends to show up on Super Bowl Sunday.
The message: Friends do not let friends drive drunk on their way home from Super Bowl parties.
Sean Donaldson of the Vancouver Police Department said law enforcement can educate and provide messages on social media detailing the dangers of drunk driving. But by the time a drunk driver is on the road, there is only one action that law enforcement can take: Stop the driver and arrest the driver.
A good friend, though, will ensure the drunk friend is never in that position.
“The first line of defense to combating drunk driving is somebody taking the step to intervene, to stop someone from driving drunk,” Donaldson said.
“As friends, you’re going to be the first line of defense of stopping friends from driving drunk,” he said. “Whether that means you have to tell them, ‘You’re not driving home,’ or taking the key from them, or helping them plan ahead. If you have friends coming to your house, and you know there is going to be alcohol involved, plan ahead.
“It’s your responsibility as the person hosting the party. ‘How am I going to get these people home safely? Am I going to have them stay at the house? Am I going to arrange for Ubers for all of them? Am I going to have one sober driver take them all home?’”
Those who know they will be leaving their homes to celebrate at a friend’s house or a bar or restaurant should know before they go just how they will get home.
“Once you consume alcohol, if you get a little tipsy, you’re drunk, you’re going to make a bad decision,” Donaldson said. “Plan early and plan ahead.”
Donaldson noted that consuming alcohol causes the brain to make one feel less excited, but also reduces one’s inhibition. A drunk driver is more likely to drive faster, because the driver does not feel as fast as normal. Also, a drunk driver takes more risk.
It is a deadly combination.
“We all know the serious outcome that can come from a drunk driver or an impaired driver,” Donaldson said. “The worst crashes I’ve been to have been caused by impaired drivers.”
Donaldson and several law enforcement officers from Clark County will be on a Target Zero emphasis patrol from 5 p.m. Sunday evening until 1 a.m. Monday morning.
“If you’re driving drunk or driving high, you will go to jail,” Donaldson said.
Target Zero is a campaign for the state of Washington with the mission to have zero deaths on the state’s highways and roads by 2030. Education is key, and so, too, are emphasis patrols, putting the focus on such things as speed, the proper use of seat belts, or in the case of Sunday, drunk driving.
Donaldson said he has worked several Super Sunday evenings.
Things get busy, he said, as soon as the game ends.
“When they’re impaired, it’s pretty noticeable,” he said of drunk drivers.
The hope is there will be no drunk drivers this Sunday, as friends take control by making a plan and sticking to it.
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