Drivers returning from Super Bowl festivities need to be cautious, especially if the their state’s team lost the game.
In 2003, Dr. Donald Redelmeir from the University of Toronto, wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that there was a 41 percent increase in the number of traffic fatalities after the Super Bowl, attributable mostly to alcohol, inattention and fatigue.
“We observed a 41 percent relative increase in the average number of fatalities after the telecast,” he said. “In contrast, we observed no significant difference between Super Bowl Sundays and control Sundays in fatalities before the telecast and a marginal decrease during the telecast. The increase in fatalities after the telecast was evident for 21 of 27 years and amounted to about seven added deaths on the average Super Bowl Sunday as compared with the average control Sunday.”
Dr. Redelmeir’s research also found that the increase in fatalities was generally larger in states with a losing team than neutral states and larger in neutral states than states with a winning team (68 percent vs. 46 percent vs. 6 percent.)
He added that the 41 percent relative increase in fatalities after the Super Bowl telecast exceeds the relative increase in fatalities on New Year’s Eve that has prevailed for the past two decades in the United States.
He suggested that one option could be for sponsors to support subsidized public transit after the telecast. In the interim, clinicians in trauma centers might consider extra staffing, and clinicians in ambulatory care offices might warn patients to avoid unnecessary night driving on Super Bowl Sunday.