Football season is in full swing, and as fans of the phenomenal sport put in play their game day traditions, one fan-favorite in particular will be on the radar of police officers across the state: tailgating.
Before you gear up for your tailgating party at Foxborough or a college game, remember that local law enforcement are watching all fans while your at the stadium, and also after you hit the road to go home.
To avoid giving police a reason to pull you over on suspicion of DUI, make sober-safety a part of your planning and take these extra precautions.
Conduct a Vehicle Check
Conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle before departing for the game. Ensure all of your lights are in perfect working order, including turn signals and brake lights. Take care not to pack gear into your vehicle that may obstruct your front and rear views.
Designate a Driver
Have a specific discussion about who will refrain from drinking alcohol before leaving for the game. The designated driver should be prepared to strictly adhere to not partaking of anything containing alcohol.
Help your designated driver remain vigilant about what they are consuming. The system of drinking only what you brought, or *designated* for your driver to drink, is always a good one to follow.
Even the best laid plans can fall apart. After designating a driver, it’s still wise to regulate alcohol consumption so no one becomes inebriated.
A standard rule of thumb for males is to limit consumption to one beer or wine cooler per hour. Women should drink even slower, allotting an hour and a half to 2 hours per beer.
Stick to the same type of alcohol and don’t rotate in any energy drinks. Energy drinks can enhance the effects of alcohol on your system.
Of course, there are phone apps that can help you track your alcohol intake –and if you think they’ll help, use one!
Check Coolers for Contents
You never want to give police added evidence of operating while intoxicated. In the unfortunate event that you are stopped, you might be pressured to open your cooler for inspection.
This is much more likely to occur when tailgating a college game with young adult passengers or anyone in the vehicle that looks like they could be underage.
Massachusetts has “Zero Tolerance” laws regarding alcohol consumption by those under 21. Additionally, we have Minor in Possession laws that can result in a driver’s license suspension if found guilty of being in a car with alcohol in it without a parent or legal guardian present.
If you’ll be tailgating with young adult attendees, it’s wise to remove alcohol from coolers on the way back and stow any unopened alcohol completely out of sight (trunk /cargo compartment).
Important: Never travel with empties, unsealed or opened containers of alcohol.
Understand Visual Cues & Your Rights
Police officers are taught to look for certain ‘visual cues’ on the roadways that supposedly indicate impaired driving.
Some of the most visible of these are:
- Driving at Night Without Lights
- Driving Too Slowly
- Making Wide Turns
- Weaving (in and out of lanes)
- Abrupt Stops (also called “stopping for no reason”)
Being responsible and understanding what police look for goes a long way toward preventing being arrested for a DUI after any event where alcohol might be involved.
Learning what your rights are when it comes to Massachusetts’ OUI laws and procedures is equally important. Arm yourself with knowledge by reading the related articles below and any information provided on our website that you find relevant.
If you find yourself in trouble call our office to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Gregory Oberhauser. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. 978-452-1116
Minor in Possession (MIP, underage drinking, OUI under 21)
DUI Tests in Massachusetts (challenge OUI, FSTs, breath test)
Marijuana OUI (DUID, Drugged Driving, Driving while high)