standing Westerly police 2

WESTERLY — The Patriots are ready to take on the Rams in Super Bowl LIII and there's plenty of reason to celebrate in southern New England — but law enforcement officials are urging residents to game plan in advance to avoid driving under the influence.

Westerly police, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will increase patrols throughout Super Bowl weekend, both before and after the game on Sunday.

"Super Bowl is a festive night in homes and bars across America, but if your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home," Westerly Police Capt. Steven Johnson said. "We want to remind everyone that fans don't let fans drive drunk."

According to the NHTSA, one person in America dies every 51 minutes as a result of a crash involving a drunk driver. Drunk driving in 2017 accounted for nearly one in three road deaths. The safety administration also points out that even without a crash of any kind, a DUI court case cost a defendant up to $10,000.

Johnson said if you plan to drink at all, the best defense is a designated driver. When a driver is not available, NHTSA has an app available for smartphones that can connect you with a local cab company.

"The Super Bowl should be a night of fun, so we want people to plan safe rides home if they plan to be out at a party. Even one drink can impair judgment," Johnson said. "You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive."

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com

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