With the slow end of summer comes the brisk arrival of fall, and with it, everyone’s favorite season: tailgating! I mean, football—but tailgating is to many young people an integral part of enjoying the fall sports season. Major league stadiums and college parking lots can be found packed full of friends enjoying the pre-game parties that only add to the excitement of a great game. However, it’s not always just fun and games. Knowing your tailgating smarts before you start is a crucial part of having a good time and staying safe while doing so.
Alcohol + Cars = Danger. You know not to drink and drive, but what about your buddy who says he’s totally fine? Tailgating can often include elements of binge drinking and drinking games, which may seem like fun at the time, but can have disastrous consequences afterwards. Even after heading into the stadium to watch the game, many tailgating partiers will not be sober by the time they leave the event to drive home. Even when you’re not the one drinking, or no one in your group is, leaving those parking lots and getting back onto the highway can be an extremely dangerous proposition. Be aware of your surroundings and exercise additional caution when in the vicinity of tailgaters who may have consumed too much alcohol over the course of the day.
Colleges are Cracking Down. Though tailgating may seem like just another rite of passage in a college culture fueled with excessive drinking, many universities are starting to take a closer look at the alcohol consumption outside of sporting events. One study from the University of Minnesota found that a full one in twelve people leaving the stadium are legally drunk, many of whom had been tailgating prior to the event. Ivy League Yale University strongly discourages binge drinking in their policies, and many other schools prohibit alcohol from tailgating events at all.
Legal Limits: College may include a lot of fun times, but there are several ways that engaging in a little pregame fun could get you into trouble beyond just a DUI. Many tailgating events are in violation of open container laws and public intoxication statutes. It’s important to pick one member of your part as the designated driver, both for your safety and to protect everyone legally as well. Make sure you have a game plan for after your game, otherwise you might get in serious legal trouble. To make sure you can make it to the next winning game in your favorite team’s streak; follow the drinking laws to protect yourself in a variety of ways.
While everyone must adhere to the legal restrictions about public drinking, every college is different with their on-campus policies to protect the study body. Make sure you’re aware of the policies in your specific college or university to make sure you’re protected on that front as well! Following the guidelines of both your local law enforcement and college community will ensure that tailgating is not only a fun way to make memories with your friends, it will be safe as well.
But in the event that you find yourself charged with an alcohol-related offense, be sure to call me as soon as possible. I’m defense attorney Leon Matchin and I have years of experience obtaining successful results for my clients and their driving under the influence cases. Let me help you; give me a call at (732) 662-7658 to learn more.