Sporting Events and DUI


Football season has kicked off and it seems only appropriate to talk a little about how sporting events might affect your chances of getting popped for driving under the influence.

I think it goes without saying that a tall beer at a professional sporting event is about as commonplace as the programs for the game itself. It almost seems as if people don’t even care about the fact that a single domestic beer cost about the same as a six-pack of a premium imported beer. Yet, they still toss them back like it’s their last. If that’s you, did you catch a cab or carpool with your fan friends to game? If not, you’re a good candidate to become a DUI suspect.

The University of Minnesota, School of Public Health’s Darin Erickson, Ph.D, conducted a study in which 362 fans leaving 13 baseball games and three football games were breathalyzed. Not surprisingly, about half of the people at the sporting events consumed alcohol. Consuming alcohol doesn’t get you DUI’s. It’s consuming alcohol such that your BAC is 0.08 percent and above that gets you a DUI. So what percentage of people had a BAC of 0.08 and above? A whopping 8.3 percent or one out of every 12 people was over the legal limit.

If that weren’t enough, people who drank at tailgate parties were 14 times more likely to have a BAC above the legal limit than those who had not tailgated.

Erickson said of the study, which was conducted in 2006 and published in 2011, “Our sample size was small, partly because of the difficulty of getting fans to submit to a BAC test after a game. But if we assume that our research accurately represent individuals attending professional events, it means that – on average – almost 5,000 attendees leaving one National Football League (NFL) event would be above the legal BAC limit for driving.”

No doubt law enforcement agencies and officials are aware of the study as it was one of the first of its kind. Not to mention that it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that people drink alcohol at sporting events. If you’ve had a few and you’re leaving a sporting event, they are looking for you. So if you’re a driver, save your money and stop buying the overpriced beer after the first quarter or 2nd inning.

I guess if there was ever a silver lining for not having a professional football team in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, this is it.

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