The Super Bowl isn’t just America’s most-watched TV show, it’s among our greatest vehicles for social gatherings. With all those Super Bowl parties comes booze and, with that, the inevitability of people driving while under varying degrees of intoxication.
The folks at Frito-Lay are trying to reduce drunk-driving incidents with a nifty innovation: a bag of Tostitos that also lets people know if they have alcohol in their systems. What’s more, the bag can even summon Uber for a lift.
Frito-Lay will have a limited edition release of “Party Safe” bags of Tostitos, each of which has a sensor that can detect traces of alcohol from a person’s breath. It’s not a Breathalyzer, so it won’t provide a blood-alcohol percentage, but it could convince some snackers not to climb into their vehicles.
If the bag detects alcohol, the sensor turns into a red image of a steering wheel, and the words “Don’t drink and drive” appear. People can reportedly tap the bags with their smartphones to call an Uber (presumably if they already have the app downloaded).
Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, has partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in its “Party Safe” campaign for the Super Bowl. Several Tostitos products will have UPC codes that can be used for discounted Uber rides during and after the game, which takes place Feb. 5, up until 25,000 people have taken advantage of the promotion.
“Our goal is to remove 25,000 cars from the roads that Sunday evening,” Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer, Jennifer Saenz, said (via AdWeek). “Whether watching the big game at a friend’s house or at a local bar, a safe ride home is just a few easy taps away. By simply entering a participating Tostitos UPC code in the Uber app, fans nationwide can receive $10 off an Uber ride.”
“Having a good time and being safe go hand in hand,” Delanie Walker, a Titans tight end and MADD volunteer, said in a statement issued in connection with the campaign. Shortly after he played in Super Bowl XLVII as a member of the 49ers, his aunt and uncle were killed by a drunk driver.
“Losing the Super Bowl is nothing compared to the real heartbreaking loss I suffered that night,” Walker said. “Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable. It’s easier than ever to make a safe choice if your plans include alcohol.”
There’s nothing humorous about Walker’s tragic experience, but a pair of police departments’ Twitter accounts had some fun Wednesday with the idea of a snack bag that alerts people to possible alcohol use.
As an example of the dangers of driving on Super Bowl Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported last year that a 77 percent increase in alcohol-related crashes causing injury or death had occurred in California over the previous five years on that day. The newspaper reported that, in San Diego, the rate increased by 117 percent.