MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Plan for a safe return, officials stressed as Sailors and families around the fleet make plans to enjoy the Super Bowl, Feb. 3.
"Super Bowl Sunday is like an unofficial holiday in America where people gather together to watch the game," said Navy Personnel Command Force Master Chief (SW/AW/NAC) Jon Port.
And like other celebrations, food and alcohol are often key ingredients at many Super Bowl parties.
In the past three years, the Navy has seen a steady rise in reports of Sailors driving under the influence (DUI) over the Super Bowl Weekend, therefore, Navy leaders are stressing the importance to plan ahead to avoid DUI.
"If you're planning to attend a Super Bowl party or watch the game at a sports bar or restaurant and you intend to drink alcohol, think about how you will get home when making your plans," said Dorice Favorite, program director, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP). "It's good to think out the scenarios in your head beforehand so you are prepared."
Sailors can start by programming the phone number of a local taxi company into their cell phone.
"Even if you don't have to call a taxi for yourself, you'll have the number handy in case you need to call one for a shipmate," said Favorite.
Before heading out, decide who will be the sober designated driver and what that entails. The designated driver should be limited to non-alcoholic beverages. According to the Insurance Information Institute, more drivers are involved in alcohol-related accidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year except St. Patrick's Day. Sailors should know their limits and if it's exceeded, call a taxi, get a ride with a sober friend, or get permission from the party host to stay overnight, but don't drink and drive.
If you are staying in and hosting friends at your home, Favorite suggests hosts ensure all guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
"You should serve plenty of food and nonalcoholic beverages at the party," said Favorite. "Host your party just like they do at the stadium; stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game.
Hosting a party comes with responsibilities.
"Depending on the laws of your state, if you host a party and serve alcohol, you could potentially be legally liable if an intoxicated party guest drives away and gets in an accident," Favorite added.
NADAP is tasked to support Fleet readiness by fighting alcohol abuse and drug use. Alcohol related incidents can diminish mission readiness in the Navy and ruin careers. Even Sailors who only drink alcohol on rare occasions must have a plan if they are going to drink.
To learn more about the Navy's drug and alcohol abuse prevention efforts, visit www.nadap.navy.mil.
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.