[UPDATED with Arrest Totals:] Sheriff Audibles Prevent Defense for Super Bowl

See the update at the end of this post with arrest totals from Sunday's Super Bowl DUI crackdown.

ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 1, 5:14 P.M.: Behold Super Bowl Sunday: the pageantry, the competition, the entertainment, the parties, the law enforcement officers following around weave-y drivers in a combined effort to remove drunks from the road and pad government coffers. Yep, with Sunday's Big Game--as advertisers forbidden calling it the Super Bowl refer to it--there will come roving patrols for drunk and drugged drivers by sheriff's deputies in their Orange County territories and contract cities.

"The DUI Task Force will be deploying special roving DUI patrols on Sunday, February 3rd in several communities throughout Orange County," reads a statement from the sheriff's office. "They will stop and arrest drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs. In addition to these DUI patrols, regularly scheduled patrol officers will be looking for the tell-tale signs of an intoxicated driver behind the wheel."

The task force is known as Avoid the 38, as in avoid the 38 law enforcement agencies in the County of Orange that combine efforts to remove boozy and reduce collisions and fatalities. Avoid the 38 is teaming with the NFL, the California Office of Traffic Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and TEAM (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) to encourage a sober Super Bowl Sunday to offer these tips:

If you're attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:

  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself. Eat plenty of food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • If you don't have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or if possible stay where you are for the night and don't drive until you are sober.
  • Never let friends drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home.
  • Always buckle up. It's still your best defense against other drunk drivers.
  • Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Host your party just like they do at the stadium. Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.

This sober dream team reminds that bar owners and party throwers can be held liable and prosecuted if someone they served ends up in a drunk-driving crash. And parents can be held liable if an underage drunken driver causes damage, injury or death--and jail time if an adult serves alcohol to the underage or hosts a party where alcohol is served to them.

UPDATE, FEB. 5, 1:56 P.M.: The Avoid the 38 task force reports today that Orange County's 38 law enforcement agencies made 43 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on Super Bowl Sunday.

There were no reported DUI-related deaths.

The task force warns that the next big anti-DUI enforcement, which is partly funded by state and national grants, will be during St Patrick's Day festivities in March.

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