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Football and Game Day Drinking

Few things seem more American and traditional than tailgating at a weekend football game or going over to a friend's house to watch it on TV. Unfortunately, this has lead to binge drinking and the inevitable DUI accidents.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) announced a new program aimed at reducing the number of accidents and fatalities associated with football game days.

The TXDOT's "Know When to Pass" program is designed to highlight the risks of game day drinking and remind fans they should have a designated driver if they intend to drink and need to drive.

Game day drinking is a serious problem. Ironically, a University of Texas study was one of the first to formally identify the affect of football game days on alcohol consumption. TXDOT studies indicate 51 percent of Texans report three or more drinks at football parties and 45 percent report then driving home after the party.

And the drinking leads to an increase in DUI arrests. The statistics also indicate in 2009, 1,537 DUI car accidents occurred on days when a Texas football team was playing.

867 Fatalities

In 2009, there were 867 fatalities that occurred on football game days. The study in Texas found that "high-profile" games were similar to holiday traditionally associated with heavy drinking, like Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve and Halloween. With the NFL season nearing completion and college bowl games on the horizon, there may be many more of these high-profile games.

College students tend to be some of the heaviest drinkers and football games provide ample excuse to intensify the drinking. The sporting event provides both the reason for having a party and the social context that encourages heavy, binge drinking. When the game is over, many of these people then take to area roadways while they are still intoxicated.

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