The Cincinnati Bengals have not appeared in a Super Bowl since 1989 and the Cleveland Browns still have yet to make an inaugural visit. Still, the lack of an Ohio connection does not mean that the possibility of drunk driving will not affect motorists in the Buckeye State. In fact, the findings of one study suggest that roadways around Ohio could be even more dangerous than the state with the winning team.
In 2003, researchers at the University of Toronto studied fatal car accidents on 27 consecutive Super Bowl Sundays and found there is a 41 percent increase in auto accidents in the hours after the end of the broadcast—and not just in the home states of the participants. The researchers compared each Super Bowl Sunday to the immediately preceding and subsequent Sundays from 1975 to 2001, finding that the first hour immediately following the game’s conclusion was the worst, with the accident rate jumping 70 percent. There was also a larger spike in fatalities for states without a team playing than the states where the winning team hailed from.
We mention this study because as this year’s Super Bowl approaches on Sunday, it is important to keep in mind what medical researchers Donald A. Redelmeier and Craig L. Stewart wrote in regards to their study in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine published on January 23, 2003. “The 41 percent relative increase in fatalities after the Super Bowl telecast exceeds the relative increase in fatalities on New Year’s Eve that has prevailed for the past two decades in the United States,” the letter stated.
Increased advocacy has made New Year’s Eve synonymous with the dangers of drunk driving. The Super Bowl deserves to be approached with a similar degree of caution when getting behind the wheel since Ohio highways could be just as deadly as those in New York or Boston. Over the course of this week, we will examine some of the things you should keep in mind not only when attending or hosting a party on this coming Sunday, but at any point in any year.
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