South LA

Super Bowl LVI in SoCal is a reason to celebrate, but safely

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hosted an event in Los Angeles to warn of the dangers of drunk driving ahead of the Super Bowl this Sunday.

A memoriam to a passed loved one sits in a simulated crash car to advocate for safe driving.

Four days before the Super Bowl, law enforcement officials and anti-drunk activists urged the public to not get behind the wheel if consuming alcohol and explained the consequences of alcohol and drug-impaired driving.

Super Bowl LVI, between the L.A. Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, will be held Sunday at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Fans are expected to indulge in alcoholic beverages, with HuffPost predicting Americans will consume around 325.5 million gallons of beer during the event, increasing the risk of drunk drivers on the road post-game.

Car crash data from the last five years in California found a 77% increase in crashes caused by alcohol resulting in injury or death on Super Bowl Sunday, and crashes in L.A. alone are 57% higher on the Super Bowl, according to the L.A. Times.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hoped to use the Wednesday news conference to remind sports fans of the consequences of impaired driving. Janelle Weinberg, a MADD mother who lost her child in a DUI crash, spoke about her personal experiences at the event.

“I had the perfect family until March 10, 2013, when my daughter Ariel was leaving a frat party, and her designated driver lied and was not sober, and they ended up crashing into a power pole, slamming into a building, coming to a stop where my daughter died instantly,” Weinberg said. “It’s just so frustrating because it was so preventable. It’s 100% preventable. It didn’t have to happen.”

The past five Super Bowls have resulted in 40 deaths and 802 injuries in California, the California Highway Patrol said in a press release.

A first-time driving offender charged with a DUI in California could face arrest and up to $22,578 in fees and penalties, according to the CHP.

“When you look in the long run, a DUI can cost you over $22,000 when a ride share can simply cost you a few extra dollars,” Avilez said. “And so, again, save a life.”

Law enforcement officials encouraged fans to have fun responsibly, but also pledged to enforce the law for those who don’t.

“We want people to have a good time, but know the fact that there are consequences for doing something wrong,” said Chris Baldonado, a spokesperson for the CHP.