Football Season is a Dangerous Time for All Drivers
If you live in Texas and like sports, September marks the beginning of the best time of year – football season. The Lone Star State is home to the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, including countless collegiate teams. Regardless of what level, football teams in Texas draw thousands of fans to their respective parking lots and stadiums every single weekend throughout the season. The Dallas Cowboys happen to have the fifth-highest attendance in the NFL, which shows just how loyal their fans are.
But football season isn’t just about chicken wings and cold beer. As the season gets underway, we will, unfortunately, bear witness to an increased number of drunk driving accidents and other similar incidents. A favorite football past time – tailgating – is also where we see a lot of injuries this time of year.
For many, tailgating is a tradition that is not to be taken lightly. At AT&T Stadium, home of the Cowboys, this couldn’t be truer. The Arlington stadium is the largest in the NFL with a capacity of nearly 100,000. With a stadium this big and ‘America’s Team’ on the field, it is no wonder tailgating accidents occur. In fact, AT&T Stadium has been at the center of tailgating controversy in the past.
The Dallas personal injury lawyers at Rad Law Firm have your safety and well-being in mind. As the football season gets underway and fans travel from all over the country to watch their favorite team take on our hometown heroes, we only expect to see a heightened number of accidents and injuries. In today’s article, we are going to take a closer look at drunk driving in Texas and how these numbers increase during football season. We are also going to discuss several tailgating safety tips and touch on what to do if you’ve been involved in an accident in Dallas.
Texas Drunk Driving Statistics
Sadly, Texas was once again home to the most fatalities caused by drunk driving in the United States. Nearly 30 percent of all traffic fatalities can be attributed to alcohol consumption. In Texas, a person is injured or killed in an accident involving alcohol every 20 minutes. Several Texas counties are more prone to alcohol-related accidents than others, including:
- Travis County
- Bexar County
- Dallas County
- Harrison County
If you do your research, you will see that many of these counties are home to either professional or collegiate football teams. The top two cities for DUI deaths in 2017 were Dallas and Houston.
MADD and the NFL Working Together
In 2010, the NFL and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) came together to curb drunk driving accidents among players, personnel, and fans. Some of the programs and game-day initiatives they developed include:
- Player and employee drunk driving awareness programs
- A reminder to fans to be the “Most Valuable Position in the NFL: the designated driver”
- MADD volunteers were sent to games to encourage attendees to have a designated driver
- Since 2010, MADD has helped increase designated driver sign-ups by 12% for 14 teams
- NFL teams, like the Cowboys and Texans, actively encourage community members to prevent drunk driving
These efforts have helped reduce many of the accidents and fatalities we see during the football season, but there is still more work to be done.
Why Drunk Driving Accidents Increase During Football Season
Let’s face it – one of the best things about going to a football game is enjoying a cold beer with 80,000 fellow fans. While most of us can agree there is nothing wrong with consuming alcohol before or even during a game, the problem is that many people do not know when to stop. Whether from the adrenaline of a good game or fear of missing out on the party, game attendees often drink well beyond what they should. When these individuals fail to recognize their misstep and get behind the wheel of a car, tragedy can strike.
Drunk drivers aren’t just putting themselves in danger when they decide to operate a car after having one too many but other fans and drivers as well. More often than not, these heartbreaking DUI accidents occur because of an error in judgment, not malicious intent. Regardless of what the intention was, DUI accidents during the football season are common and can lead to life-changing injuries and death.
Avoid a DUI Accident This Football Season
Here are a handful of tips to help you stay safe and avoid unnecessary DUI accidents this football season:
- Choose a designated driver before you get to the parking lot and stadium.
- If you do not have a designated driver, make sure you have secured alternate transportation such as rideshares like Uber or Lyft.
- Take your time when exiting the stadium. The more people who leave all at once, the greater the chance of an accident.
- When leaving the stadium parking lot, avoid busy roads if possible.
- Stay in the right lane when driving, especially on highways and busy roads. Drunk drivers tend to swerve into oncoming traffic, so driving in the left lane could put you at risk of a collision.
Who is to blame?
When it comes to filing a lawsuit following a DUI accident in Texas, one of the first things to consider is who is responsible. As we’ve discussed in the past, in many cases, bar or restaurant owners can be held liable for over-serving a patron who then caused a DUI accident. However, when it comes to drunk driving accidents during the football season, it becomes a bit more complex. If you were hit by a driver who was intoxicated after attending a game at a football stadium, you may be able to press charges. Football stadiums can be held similarly accountable for overserving as bars and other establishments. For more on this, give our Dallas law firm a call.
Tailgating Safety Tips
When tailgating, consider the following tips to stay safe before and after the game:
- Make sure you set your grill up a safe distance from other tailgaters and away from any combustibles
- Never grill on your vehicle or any other unstable area
- Practice food safety to avoid any illness or disease
- Make sure your cooler is properly packed
- Do not overconsume alcohol, as this can lead to fights and other problems in the parking lot
Due to how challenging these types of cases can be, we encourage you to contact our Dallas personal injury law firm and schedule a free consultation. The sooner you meet with one of our experienced accident attorneys, the better.
Football season is one of the most exciting times of the year in Texas and all across the United States. Being involved in an accident while tailgating before the game or in wreck following the game with a drunk driver can not only put a damper on your season but can result in serious injury and mounting medical bills.