By Megan Ruth
Mason Times Staff Writer
As Super Bowl XLV quickly approaches, grocery stores and supermarkets all around the Lansing area are packed full of procrastinating buyers. Impatient customers standing in long lines make it obvious that one of the biggest sports days of the year is upon us.
While most people have carts that are full of chips, dip and other snack foods, there is also one other similarity. Well over half of the customers in the “U-Scan” line that I am waiting in have some sort of alcohol in their carts. Fourteen of 20, to be exact. From beer and wine, to harder liquors such as tequila and vodka, it seems as if everyone is planning to throw a jubilant Super Bowl bash. While some of these people may be planning on staying in and watching the game with their family, the statistics point to other possibilities.
According to Officer Steve Chick, The Mason Police Department does not see a noticeable increase in drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday. While he says they are not putting any additional patrol cars out, those who are out will be actively looking for drivers who are under the influence.
The Ingham County Police Department offers the following tips on how to stay safe during the big game: Designate a driver before the game begins, and stay where you are if possible. If it is not possible to stay overnight where you are watching the game, remember to buckle up to protect yourself from other drivers who may be under the influence. Extra patrol cars will be on the road during and after the big game all around Ingham County, including Mason.
According to the Michigan State Police Department, 199 people were arrested last year on Super Bowl Sunday. This is two-thirds the number arrested on New Year’s Eve, 2009.
Michigan law carries hefty penalties for Operating While Intoxicated. These penalties include a $100 to $500 fine and up to 93 days in jail or 360 hours of community service. Paired with a possible suspended or restricted license, an impounded vehicle, and six points on your record, the decision to drink and drive doesn’t seem worth it.
So after the big game, make sure those around you are practicing safe transportation, and remember, fans don’t let fans drive drunk.