---- — OTTUMWA — With the Super Bowl coming up Sunday, area law enforcement agencies, including the Wapello County and Jefferson County sheriff's offices, are focusing on getting impaired drivers off the road.
The department has teamed up with the State Highway Safety Office, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Football League to remind everyone to designate a sober driver during the big game.
Law enforcement throughout Iowa, including the Wapello County and Jefferson County sheriff's offices, will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.
"The message is simple: If you are found driving over the legal limit, you will be put under arrest," said Chief Deputy Don Phillips. "Law enforcement officers will be looking for impaired drivers to get them off the road and keep the highways safe for everyone."
In 2012, three people were killed in Jefferson County due to alcohol-related crashes. In the same time period, there were 9,878 deaths due to alcohol-impaired crashes nationwide, according to NHTSA. Alcohol-related crashes were 31 percent more likely to occur on weekends than on weekdays.
In an effort to reduce accident risk, law enforcement agencies offer these tips for Super Bowl Sunday:
• Designate a sober driver or plan another way to get home safely before the party begins.
• 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 just stay for the night.
• Use your community's sober ride program if there's one available.
Additional tips are also offered for those hosting a party:
• Make sure all guests designate at sober driver in advance or arrange for alternate transportation to ensure they get home safely.
• Serve food and included non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
• Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.
• Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.
And remember, a seat belt is your best defense against a drunk driver in a crash.