McMinnville Police Department will be conducting saturation patrols during Super Bowl Sunday. The game will be held next Sunday, Feb. 5.
“We know it’s not a recognized holiday like New Year’s or the Fourth of July,” said Lt. Mark Mara. “Maybe it should be. I don’t know if any other department will be conducting saturated patrols, but we will be.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has compiled statistics for Super Bowl Sunday since 1999. By its statistics, the average Super Bowl Sunday has a 55.4 percent increase in alcohol-related traffic fatalities over other days of the year.
McMinnville Police Department encourages individuals who plan to drink and travel to designate a sober driver.
“If you plan on drinking an alcoholic beverage while watching the game, make sure to line up a designated driver,” said Mara. “Usually people plan to drink. We just want you to also plan for who will be driving so everyone can have a safe and happy Super Bowl Sunday.”
Officers will be actively pursuing impaired drivers by watching for any indication a person may be driving while intoxicated, such as following too closely, swerving, and abruptly increasing or decreasing speed. If any indication is seen, a routine traffic stop will be made.
Saturation patrols are designed to make roads safer and to increase public awareness of the hazards of drinking and driving. By removing intoxicated drivers from the roadway, officers decrease the potential for motor vehicle accidents.
The last saturation effort was during New Year’s.
“Despite telling people we would be out looking for drunk drivers and encouraging them to designate a sober driver, we arrested two individuals for driving while intoxicated,” said Mara. “It just goes to show the importance of these patrols in making the streets safer for everyone.”
Operation “Be a Survivor: Get a Designated Driver” has received funding from the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office.