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California Braces for Super Bowl Drunk Driving

The state expects a 75% increase in alcohol-related crashes on Sunday. 

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San Francisco's mayor is urging residents
to not overindulge. Photo via

By Ben Feuerherd

01/31/13

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The American Automobile Association is expecting a drastic spike in alcohol related car accidents on Sunday night, when the Ravens and 49ers face off in Super Bowl XLVII. On Super Bowl Sunday, in states like California, alcohol-related car accidents are 75% greater than other Sundays in January and February, according to a study by AAA's Automobile Club of Southern California. And the annual problem may actually be getting worse: "A previous study for a similar period in 2004 found only a 41% increase in drunk driving accidents for Super Bowl Sunday," the AAA reports. "The latest data shows that Super Bowl Sunday DUIs were to blame 642 fatalities on California roads." With the 49ers in Sunday's Super Bowl, California could suffer even more this time around. 

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee is taking what he sees as the necessary steps to ensure public safety. Speaking to the press this week, he said people should be aware of when they've had too much to drink, and warned bartenders not to over-serve. “They ought to just be cognizant that an overindulgence in a celebratory way could be very hurtful to communities and to themselves,” says Lee. “It goes both ways—people who serve as well as people who drink. While we may have that great opportunity to celebrate, let’s keep it within bounds.” In Baltimore, home of the Ravens, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake doesn't seem too worried about people overindulging Sunday night. Ian Brennan, a spokesman for Mayor Rawlings-Blake, tells the press: “We don’t have a recent history of very unruly activity. In the last two rounds of the NFL playoffs, we had people pouring out of bars and restaurants into the streets and it was mostly so strangers can hug and high-five.”

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