State troopers are stepping up patrols during and after the Super Bowl

DES MOINES — Many thousands of Iowans will be watching pro football on T-V Sunday and dozens of state troopers will be watching the highways after the big game for drivers who are putting themselves — and others — at risk.

State Trooper Paul Gardner says they’re planning to project a much more visible presence on the state’s roads than a normal Sunday. “Whether you’re rooting for the Chiefs or the 49ers, there’s going to be one way to win this Sunday: Let’s make sure everyone gets to the end zone, which is home safely,” Gardner says. “Our troopers will be out watching for impaired and drunk drivers. We highly encourage you to get a designated driver. Whether you’re hosting a party or attending a party, make sure that everyone gets home safely.”

If you plan to watch the game at a local watering hole or at a friend’s house, Gardner says it’s vital that you come up with a plan ahead of time to get yourself home. “Your most valuable player in these cases is going to be a sober, designated driver to get everyone home safely,” Gardner says. “That game plan should start now to get preparations going so that we can get people in line to be able to get people home, and that’s for parties that involve alcoholic beverages. We know that they’re going to be out there. We certainly encourage people to go out and have fun, but just please, do it responsibly.”

Gardner says last year’s Super Bowl Sunday did -not- bring a significant increase in traffic accidents or deaths in Iowa, and he hopes for a similar result this weekend. State Trooper Kevin Krull says for the cost of a drunk driving conviction, you could attend the Super Bowl in person.  “So if you get picked up for OWI, you could have just as well went to the game and bought a ticket to be at the Super Bowl,” Krull says, “because of the $10,000 that you’re going to spend probably on the OWI, between the insurance costs that are elevated after the fact, the fines and attorney fees.”

The key phrase Krull wants everyone to know for this weekend’s festivities is, “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.”