September 29, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
Educating beverage servers in bars and restaurants is a key part of reducing drunk-driving fatalities. The California Legislature has passed a bill sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) that would require California bartenders, servers and managers to receive responsible beverage service training based on a curriculum developed by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The bill—AB 1221 (Gonzalez Fletcher)—now heads to Governor Brown for his signature.
Contact the governor’s office today and urge him to sign this important bill!
The bill 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 Gonzalez Fletcher and CMA to develop legislation 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 the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “This bill will empower bartenders and servers to save lives. We wish it had been law years ago.”
Responsible beverage service training provides bartenders and servers with tools to effectively identify when a patron has had too much to drink, and how to safely intervene if necessary. Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia already require such training. Three years after Oregon mandated responsible beverage service training, fatal single-vehicle nighttime crashes decreased by an estimated 23 percent.
AB 1221 is supported by health and public safety organizations including Alcohol Justice, California Academy of Preventive Medicine, California Chapters of the American College of Physicians, California Restaurant Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.