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Sacramento bars, cops focusing on safety, DUI enforcement for Super Bowl partiers

Law enforcement is focusing on making sure the roads are safe in light of heavier drinking during the Super Bowl. Some bars are offering assistance to people who drink and should not be driving.
Law enforcement is focusing on making sure the roads are safe in light of heavier drinking during the Super Bowl. Some bars are offering assistance to people who drink and should not be driving. rbyer@sacbee.com

While football fans throw back beers and dive into heaping platters of wings Sunday, Sacramento police will be roving the streets, conducting patrols aimed at curbing drunk driving stemming from Super Bowl celebrations.

Along with all kinds of food, Americans consume significant amounts of alcoholic drinks on Super Bowl Sundays. To prevent partiers getting behind the wheel, the Sacramento Police Department and local businesses are doing what they can to encourage people to designate a sober driver or pay for a ride home.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 867 people were killed in California in 2013 as a result of car accidents in which one or more drivers were impaired by alcohol – 29 percent of all crash fatalities in the state.

A driver is considered impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the legal limit of .08.

Several local businesses expecting large, thirsty crowds for the big game said they’ll help patrons get home safely.

At Hilltop Tavern, where a mac-and-cheese cook-off is centerpiece of festivities revolving around the game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, patrons will be handed coupon codes for rides with mobile ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber.

At the Firestone Public House, which expects to maintain a full house of about 200 people as of the 3:30 p.m. kick-off, staff manning the door will be asking folks how they’re getting home, and if they need a ride.

“Before everyone leaves, we let them know we can offer them an Uber, Lyft or a cab to get them home,” Firestone assistant manager Calvin Lam said. “Most people are going to be walking or are from the midtown area, but those that aren’t, we can help them find a way home.”

The state Office of Traffic Safety is trying a different tactic: enticing sober drivers to cart their friends to area bars by offering perks and special deals aimed at thanking designated drivers. The app – DDVIP – can be downloaded for free by Android and iPhone users.

People who choose to drive Sunday may run into random checks by police, who were deployed Sunday to “communities where collision data reveals high incidents of DUI crashes and arrests,” according to the Sacramento Police Department.

Flashing signs along highways and busy roads reminded drivers to call 911 if they suspect someone is driving drunk.

“Choose sides now: drinking OR driving,” the Sacramento police wrote in a news release. “This February 1, 2015, don’t become another tragic Super Bowl statistic.”

According to MyFitnessPal, a nutrition tracking system that collects data from its 65 million users, men will drink 2 1/2 times as much as women on Sunday, with those aged 31 to 60 consuming 18 percent more beer than their 21- to 30-year-old counterparts.

Call The Bee’s Marissa Lang, (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twitter at @Marissa_Jae.

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