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Study: Driving Fatalities Increase on Super Bowl Sunday

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The Super Bowl is the most popular television broadcast in the U.S. One-hundred-thirty million Americans tune in to see the game, or the commercials.

For many, it's a day-long party, and that can mean trouble.

To sports fans, the Super Bowl means celebration, or consolation. But a new study says that's not all. Super Bowl Sunday can be a dangerous time to be on the road.

As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the University of Toronto looked at driving fatalities on 27 consecutive Super Bowl Sundays. They broke it down into three intervals-- before, during, and after the television broadcast, and used the Sundays just before and after the Super Bowl as a comparison.

The researchers found that compared to a typical Sunday, there was no change in the number of fatal accidents before the Super Bowl broadcast, a slight decrease during the game, and a 41 percent increase in fatal accidents in the hours immediately following the game.

They found the risk was highest in states where the home team loses, and lower in states where the home team wins.

And, it says fatigue, inattention, and alcohol can all play a role.

Karen Sprattler of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says, "Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most deadly days of the year in terms of impaired driving."

In fact, the researachers say the relative increase in fatal accidents after the Super Bowl is even greater than what's seen on New Year's Eve. So the group is driving home an important message.

"This is about more than just a championship ring or bragging rights. I mean, this is about saving lives and you going home to your family."

So if you're heading out to a party this Sunday, plan ahead. Choose a designated driver or use public transportation to get home. And try to avoid rehashing the game while driving-- it may cause you to be distracted.

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