Police to increase DUI patrols for Super Bowl Sunday

TULSA - Tulsa police will increase DUI patrols on Super Bowl Sunday.

Tulsa police, the NFL and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration want all football fans to have a plan if they're drinking during the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

"I expect tomorrow night to be a lot more cars out, especially the people going to the spots to watch the game and then coming home," said Capt. Rick Helberg with the Tulsa Police Department.

Through a federal grant, Tulsa's DUI task force will be in popular areas like Brookside and Cherry Street watching for impaired drivers. Helberg reminds drivers that getting a DUI isn't cheap.

"A pretty good rule of thumb or estimate is a first time DUI is going to cost you at least $10,000," he said.

That doesn't include insurance rate increases and more serious charges that could result from injuring another driver or causing property damage.

Bars around Green Country like Leon's on Peoria Avenue are already prepping for the game and expect to do big business.

"Especially beer-wise, we'll double, triple our sales on a Sunday afternoon like today. We'll have people coming in to do that," said Jordan Wiley, general manager of Leon's.  "We sell a lot of beer on Super Bowl Sunday."

In addition to capitalizing on profits, bars around Tulsa will also be mindful that they, too, are responsible for their customers. Bars and their employees can face charges from over-serving their customers.

"The ABLE Commission, especially the Riverside Division, has been working real closely with our officers to combat both underage drinkers and the intoxicated-- as far as targeting the commercial establishments, the bartenders, the bars themselves, the liquor stores. Any place that kids or drunks get in," Helberg explained.

Wiley said his bar will be quick to refuse service to those who enter the bar drunk and those who've become too drunk that they pose a risk to others. He also said they'll take away car keys and order taxis for those they feel cannot drive home.

"I've definitely had to take a few beers away. I've had to call a cab and help escort them into the cab," Wiley said.

The other option, of course, is to have a designated driver. True DDs, Helberg explains, haven't consumed one alcoholic drink.

"We arrest a lot of designated drivers for DUI because being a designated driver means you're not drinking at all, and often times they think well, they're just drinking less so they're the driver, and that doesn't really work."

More than 175,000 fans have signed up to be designated drivers for Super Bowl Sunday across the country.

According to NHTSA, 49 percent of all fatal crashes on Super Bowl Sunday in 2011 involved alcohol.

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