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Archive for Saturday, January 31, 2009

Campaign urges safe festivities

As Lawrence residents make preparations to watch the big game on Sunday, area health and law enforcement agencies are asking fans to be smart.

January 31, 2009

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It’s one of the biggest sports weekends of the year.

But as Lawrence residents prepare to celebrate on Super Bowl Sunday, area law enforcement agencies are warning fans to be safe at their parties and on the roads.

“Generally we’ll see a spike in the jail population because of things like the Super Bowl, big sporting events where people will host a party,” Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said.

During a sporting event that can bring several hours of celebrating and large gatherings of people, more people will likely be consuming alcohol.

Branson said traditionally his office will find a larger stack of cases to deal with the day after Super Bowl Sunday, usually for people who are arrested for drunken driving or domestic violence.

His office supported an educational campaign this week with the Lawrence Regional Prevention Center at DCCCA, the National Football League and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for people to get a designated driver if they need it.

In 2007, 48 percent of fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday occurred in crashes where a driver had a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08, according to the campaign.

Douglas County Sheriff’s officers and Lawrence police do not plan any special patrols Sunday, but Branson said officers will be on the lookout for incidents involving alcohol, especially after the game ends.

Safety tips from health and law enforcement officials include using a designated driver, calling a taxi or spending the night at the party. If you’re hosting a party, watch out for your guests and stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter.

“Do those types of things and just plan ahead. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time. You just have to have a good time intelligently,” Branson said.

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