It's something you might not know, but percentage-wise more lives are lost to drunk drivers on Super Bowl Sunday than New Year's or the Fourth of July. 58% of all traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday 2002 were alcohol related.
But those stats from Mothers Against Drunk Driving don't tell the whole story. The numbers don't reveal the pain felt by families who have lost a loved one, or the experience families of drunk drivers go through. So to show you how important it is to stay safe this Sunday, NewsChannel 11 talked to two local women. One of them, Cheryl Caddell, is a mother who lost her daughter to a drunk driver. She explains her experience: "I got extremely ill. I came to work.. I worked part time but I was so sick. My entire body took on the pain of losing her."
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Cheryl's family lost their beloved daughter and sister Autumn to a drunk driver back in 1996. The void left by Autumn's death still remains, but now her mom has this message to anyone who drinks and drives. Cheryl says, "No one wins. It's a very difficult thing so think about your choices. Be responsible."
With Super Bowl Sunday quickly approaching, that message becomes urgent. Percentage-wise Super Bowl Sunday is the deadliest day of the year for drunk driving fatalities. Shannon Ramos, A Victim Assistance Coordinator with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says, "A lot of people drink during the Super Bowl and then don't think twice about going home, so we're just asking people to use smart party guides during the Super Bowl and not send people home when they drink."
It's not just the victim's family Shannon helps. Alcohol related deaths often effect the family of the drunk driver just as adversely. Shannon says, "They need to think about their kids, their parents and what would this do to them. Not only to live without you, but what would it be like to live with you in prison."
Cheryl is living proof of how long the pain can last. She tearily explains: "My daughter Monica came to me and said Autumn is never going to get to see me graduate, never get to see me have children. She's never going to see me get married."
Cheryl's story is just one reason why this message never gets old: If you're drinking this Super Bowl, designate a driver. It's not worth taking a life. Also, be a responsible host if you're having a party. Watch your guests' alcohol intake and arrange for safe rides home or offer up your couch. Those are just some of the things you can do (click here) for more party safe ideas.