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Can football stadiums help prevent drunk driving?

A mother is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against an NFL stadium after a drunk driving accident resulted in the death of her daughter and another girl after a game. The mother says that the stadium has ineffective policies on alcohol sales that put the public at risk when intoxicated fans leave the stadium. The driver in the accident that killed her daughter had about five beers at a football game before he drove his SUV into the shoulder of the road where the two teenage girls were walking away from the game.

Like many other stadiums in the United States, the one where this drunk driving accident occurred puts a limit on the number of beers that a person can purchase in one transaction. However, the limit is two and the beverages are 16 ounces, making it possible for a given consumer to purchase 32 ounces of beer at a time. Looking at it from that perspective, it hardly seems like a limit at all.

In addition, many football stadiums have concession stands staffed by volunteers who donate a portion of the proceeds from whatever they sell to a charity. This incentivizes them to sell more products and could undercut their desire to refuse service to an obviously intoxicated fan.

The mother of one of the girls who was killed in the accident says that stadiums should track each patron to limit them to a total number of alcoholic beverages during the course of an entire game.

A study from a nonprofit organization found that about eight percent of fans leaving an NFL stadium were intoxicated beyond the legal limit. For a typical game this is as many as 5,000 people, many of whom will soon be on the roads.

Source: The Courier-Journal, "Mom takes on Colts' stadium vendor over beer sales, daughter's death," Dec. 22, 2013

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