Tragic deaths of two medical students at the hands of drunk driver inspires legislation

March 30, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

The California Medical Association (CMA) has announced its sponsored bill package for the 2016 legislative session. Among them is a bill inspired by the tragic deaths last year of two medical students from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), at the hands of a drunk driver.

In May 2015, two UCSD medical students were killed by a drunk driver going the wrong way, causing a collision that killed two medical students and injured three others.

In the wake of the accident, classmates of the victims worked with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and CMA to develop legislation (Assembly Bill 2121) that would better equip servers and bartenders to identify signs of overconsumption and intervene before tragedy strikes.

“Responsible beverage service training can't bring back our brilliant, compassionate classmates, but it can prevent other communities from having to mourn the senseless loss of loved ones to drunk drivers,” said Daniel Spinosa, one of the victims’ classmates at UCSD School of Medicine. “This bill will empower bartenders and servers to save lives. We wish it had been law years ago.”

More details about CMA's sponsored bill package are below:

AB 2121 (Gonzalez) – Responsible Beverage Service Training
This bill seeks to help reduce alcohol service to intoxicated individuals and to reduce drunk driving by requiring establishments that serve alcohol to employ servers and managers who have received responsible beverage service training.

AB 2209 (Bonilla) – Prohibiting Secret Treatment Plans
This bill prohibits health insurance plans from developing and implementing clinical care "pathways" that dictate how medical professionals practice medicine.

SB 867 (Roth) – Emergency Medical Services
Current law requires a portion of certain infractions and fines to be donated in the Maddy Emergency Medical Services Fund, which provides reimbursement to physicians who treat uninsured patients. This bill would remove the sunset date on the program, making it a permanent program.

SB 1177 (Galgiani) – Physician and Surgeon Health and Wellness Program
This bill will reestablish a Physician Health and Wellness Program for California physicians suffering from substance abuse, mental and behavioral health issues.


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