October 17, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
On Sunday, October 15, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) and introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, requiring individuals who sell or serve alcoholic beverages to undergo responsible beverage service training.
“The purpose of this law is simple: to help educate bartenders about how to serve alcohol responsibly and how to recognize when a customer’s had enough to drink,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said. “This law will mean fewer drunk drivers on the road, which will reduce the risk of future tragedies. It will also help reduce all the other problems caused by someone drinking too much at a bar.”
The bill (AB 1221) is the result of a tragic drunk-driving accident that killed two UC San Diego medical students in 2015. In the wake of the accident, classmates of the victims worked with Assemblywoman Fletcher and CMA to develop legislation that would better equip servers and bartenders to identify signs of overconsumption and intervene before tragedy strikes.
California is now the 19th state, along with the District of Columbia, to require that bartenders and servers receive mandatory training on alcohol responsibility. Oregon mandated responsible beverage service training three years ago and estimated a 23 percent decrease in fatal single-vehicle nighttime crashes.
“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 the UCSD School of Medicine. “This bill will empower bartenders and servers to save lives. We wish it had been law years ago."