The Newport Beach Police Department urged people to “call the right play” during the Super Bowl on Sunday by “passing” the keys to a sober driver.
In a message to the community sent out on Tuesday, NBPD officials announced their “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk” campaign.
“Football fans across the country will tune in to watch Super Bowl LI; for many of them, the game experience will include alcohol,” the message reads. The campaign urges people to “to call the right play on Super Bowl weekend and pass the keys to a sober driver before the drinking begins.”
Even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction times enough to make driving unsafe, police warn in the message. Many medications (prescription and over-the-counter), marijuana, and illicit drugs can also lead to impairment and unsafe driving, resulting in a DUI, it reads.
“If you’re impaired, please get a safe ride home by designating a sober driver, using public transportation, or calling a taxi or rideshare program,” said NBPD Chief Jon Lewis in the prepared statement. “Remember, it’s a choice: Drink or drive – but never both.”
Additional officers on special DUI saturation patrols will be deployed to specifically stop and arrest drivers showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment during and following the game, NBPD spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella warned in the message.
“As part of the Super Bowl Sunday enforcement efforts, police, sheriff and the CHP will be on heightened alert ready to stop and arrest any impaired driver,” she wrote.
Newport Beach joins law enforcement agencies across the state, along with the California Office of Traffic Safety for the special campaign.
“Volunteer to be a designated driver to help your family and friends get home safely,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Impaired driving only leads to disaster and tragedy. It is never worth the risk.”
She encouraged fans who plan to drink to pass the keys before kickoff. Sober drivers can also download OTS’s Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app to get connected with free designated-driver incentives at local establishments or to order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft, or Curb.
“Being a sober, designated driver is a key role on Super Bowl Sunday; you might just save a life,” Manzella wrote in the NBPD message. “This Super Bowl weekend, be a team player and help keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. And remember: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.”