Texas + Football + Alcohol + Driving = Disaster

texas-football-drunk-drivingFootball has a drinking problem.

Drinking has a driving problem.

And Texas has a football-drinking-driving problem. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that of all the car crashes that happened during last year’s football season, no less than 10,000 were alchohol-related.

Almost 500 people died during the season as a result of those crashes. For many people, football and beer are inseparable. Unfortunately, football stadiums must be driven to, and driven back from. The result is a frightening amount of carnage on the roads. Texas still leads the nation in drunk driving deaths, and football season appears to be the main event for the sport of drunk driving.

texas-dodgeball-truck-1The state is on it. Last year Texas became the 25th state to pass a law requiring ignition interlocks for all DUI offenses, including first offenses. The devices prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has alcohol on his or her breath.

Another initiative, a preventive one related specifically to football, is the Plan While You Can campaign, which encourages drinkers to plan for a designated driver before they start drinking and their judgment is impaired.

One of the tools the campaign uses to persuade Texans is an interactive Dodgeball game. Participants play a video game version of dodgeball. As play progresses, the players’ avatars are plied with virtual drinks. Before long reaction time slows and coordination is down the drain. It’s a fun but very dramatic illustration of what alcohol does to one’s abilities.

The Plan While You Can program is statewide, and it comes in time for the Super Bowl, the nation’s most important sporting event and an occasion when a lot of Americans down a lot of beer.

Attention football fans: plan your designated driver before the game. Have a great time, but don’t drive if you’ve been drinking. Those are the rules of the game.