Sunday is the Super Bowl of drunk driving, crash data show

Officers examine the wreckage of a 2014 fatal car crash blamed on DUI.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Be careful driving on Super Bowl Sunday. Your chance of being involved in a crash tied to drunk driving can be as much as double that of a normal Sunday in January or February, according to California safety officials and the Auto Club of Southern California.

They looked at five years of California crash data and found there was a 77% increase in alcohol-related crashes causing injury or death on Super Bowl Sunday.

In Los Angeles, the number of alcohol-related crashes runs 57% higher on Super Bowl Sunday. And in San Diego, the number is more than double, up 117%.


“Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest one-day sporting event in the United States and unfortunately one of the most dangerous days on California’s roads and highways,” state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. “Every one of us has a responsibility to ensure we do not contribute to the problem by allowing a drunk or drugged driver to hit the road on Super Bowl Sunday.”

The analysis reviewed the number of alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes that occurred from 5 p.m. Sunday through 4 a.m. the following day for the five Super Bowl Sundays from 2009 to 2013 compared with other Sundays during January and February.

“We encourage everyone to make a plan -- designate a sober driver ahead of time, contact a ride-sharing service or use a taxi or public transportation,” said Robert Bouttier, the Auto Club’s chief executive.

Here are the raw numbers:

• In California, there were 294 fatal and injury crashes on Super Bowl Sundays from 2009 through 2013 versus 166 for the comparable other Sundays – or 26 extra per year.

• In Los Angeles County, there were 77 fatal and injury crashes on Super Bowl Sundays versus 49 on the comparable other Sundays.

• In San Diego County, there were 40 fatal and injury crashes on Super Bowl Sundays versus 18 on the comparable other Sundays.


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