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panthersWe citizens of North Carolina love our sports teams. Whether it’s a game hosted by the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, or the Carolina Hurricanes, you can count on a full house of enthusiastic fans cheering their team on. Many spectators who attend these games also enjoy the tailgating parties and beer concessions available at these events. Unfortunately, too many of them make the decision to get into their vehicle when the game is over – even though they have been drinking – putting themselves and other people at risk for drunk driving accidents.

One study found that approximately 10 percent of fans are legally drunk when they leave a professional sporting event. Researchers were at 13 major league baseball and football games and got almost 400 people to agree to take a breathalyzer test. They did not ask people to participate who had obviously been drinking, nor people who looked under the legal drinking age. The results of those tests were that 40 percent had alcohol in their systems, with a blood alcohol level of between .0005 and .22. Eight percent of participants had a blood alcohol level of .08 (the legal limit) or higher.

Although 10 percent may sound like a small number, it can be high when you think of how many seats are in a stadium or arena. For example, the Bank of America Stadium where the Panthers play their home games seats more than 75,000 people. Ten percent of a full stadium is 7,500 people leaving legally drunk. How many of those people get behind the wheel of a vehicle?

And it is not only people who attend games that choose to drink and drive. Sports fans get together at bars and friends’ homes to watch the games. Many of those fans tragically make the decision to drive home drunk, again putting the lives of other people at risk. An example of just how dangerous the situation is Super Bowl Sunday. One analysis found that there is a 77 percent increase in drunk driving crashes on the biggest football event of the year.

In North Carolina, more than 400 people are killed every year in drunk driving crashes. For those victims who are fortunate enough to survive alcohol-related crashes, the injuries they suffer often cause long-term or life-long disabilities. Victims of drunk driving accidents should contact a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what their legal options are for the pain and losses they have suffered.

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