Super Bowl weekend is a big time for parties. However, it is also a time to remember that this is one of the worst times of the year for traffic crashes. Nationwide, fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While we want all football fans to enjoy themselves this weekend, if you plan on drinking during the Super Bowl, please designate a sober driver. Alcohol-impaired driving is no accident nor is it a victimless crime. In 2010, 10,228 people died in motor vehicle crashes in which an impaired driver or motorcycle rider had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

As Maryland's Highway Safety Representative and Motor Vehicle Administrator, I can report that Maryland's 177 alcohol-related traffic fatalities represented 36 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2010. On average, 8,430 impaired driving crashes occur annually on Maryland's roadways.

As reported in the news, seven people died on Saturday, Jan. 28, in two crashes in Anne Arundel County, and a third on the Eastern Shore. Though police are still investigating the crashes, they serve as a clear warning that our highways can be dangerous.

Driving while intoxicated, distracted or simply sleepy and tired can lead to tragedy. This weekend, let's make it a safe one for all Maryland motorists. In 2010, we averaged 62 arrests per day for DUI in Maryland, over 22,000 arrests that year. Alcohol or drug impaired crashes have escalated annually. There were 171 impaired driving fatalities in 2008, 173 in 2009 and 177 in 2010.

This Super Bowl weekend, drink responsibly. Please pass your keys to a sober driver. Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is not worth the risk. If you know of someone who has been drinking and is planning to drive, please remember: Fans don't let fans drive drunk. By driving safely and courteously, we all win.

John T. Kuo, Glen Burnie

The writer is administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.