Posts Tagged ‘drunk driving’

Serving Alcohol Monthly Newsletter – September 2013


Serving Alcohol Monthly Newsletter

September 2013

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Here Come the Freshmen!

There’s a hint of change in the air, a breeze pushing heat and humidity aside in favor of cooler, crisp fall days. Autumn has come to college towns. Parents and students begin their treks to university campuses across the nation. While boxes are being lugged in and unpacked, every parent also has a nagging worry about leaving their child behind to navigate a new environment, new challenges and new friends.

It’s also a time when bars and restaurants in college towns must brace for the onslaught of under-aged clientele armed with new found freedom and ready to test the boundaries and policies they have in place. When high school graduates hit college campuses they are more easily swayed by peer pressure than ever before. For many this is their first significant time away from home—and they are leaving behind the structure and behavioral expectations it represents. In an effort to “fit in” or simply form new friendships, many will seek approval by engaging in illegal under-aged drinking. Social situations presented by dormitories, Greek houses or off-campus housing complexes are often the catalyst for these dangerous choices.

Historically, teenagers often possess the desire to be viewed as an adult with this level of independence, and drinking with their peers is the easiest way to accomplish this goal. But what are the dangers surrounding their experimentation?


The path to “acceptance” is risky:

* Teenagers have smaller bodies with less water volume that cannot process alcohol well—they become intoxicated quickly

*Teens consume 5 drinks at one time on average leading to acute intoxication

*Psychological vulnerability and immaturity makes intoxication more intense and possibly addicting

*Due to lack of experience and not understanding personal tolerance levels, teens are more likely to become ill or to lose consciousness, or even die. Choking on vomit after losing consciousness may cause brain damage or death.

*Teens tend to overestimate their physical skills, capability of driving, and decision making while drinking. The altered state of intoxication also leads to engaging in Illegal activities.

*25% of all alcohol produced is consumed by under aged drinkers

*Alcohol companies have created product lines that are sweet-tasting and marketed as “trendy” to underage drinkers.

*Inexperienced drinking combined with inexperienced driving is more dangerous, and even deadly

*One in four vehicle accidents involving teenaged drivers is alcohol-related

*Because bar entry as a minor is difficult, so teens may chose to drink in uncontrolled environments and private venues that promote high volume or “binge drinking” because they are no limits imposed by social hosts

*Sexual assault of under aged drinkers is more prevalent due to inexperience and extreme impairment. Minors under the influence may not perceive dangers and be unable to protect themselves from harm.

Night Car Accident Rollover

The inescapable fact is that life is fragile, and inexperience and experimentation can lead to tragedy and life-altering consequences. Your goal as a bar owner, manager or staff member to keep this kind of impairment from being accomplished at your establishment! The following strategies should help you keep your customers safe and eliminate risk for your business.

Let’s begin with the basics to curb under aged drinking, starting at the front door. Who and what are you looking for as potential bar patrons line up outside your business?


 There are physical characteristics that will give away an under aged guest:

*Facial blemishes, acne, lack of a mature beard, lack of eye wrinkles, an under-developed body, a high-pitched voice are tell-tale signs to note.


 Behaviors and mannerisms can be a red flag as well:

*Giggling, loud or argumentative chatter

* Nervous, skittish, childish, immature behavior

*Awkward and uncoordinated movements

*False bravado—cocky, trying too hard to be “cool”

*Lack of eye contact combined with evasive and guarded exchanges with staff


 Dress and other fashion statements:


*Dressing in overly trendy clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc.

*Excessive make-up and hair treatments

*Wearing sunglasses

*Clothing or hats with school logos, class rings


 Look at their companions:

*The group may look very “young” overall

*There may be one or two in the group who are of age that they hope will serve to validate them and help them gain access to the bar. If they make it in watch mixed age tables carefully as adults who are allowing minors to drink are subject to criminal liability and arrest.

Now that your eyes are open and you have a good idea of whose ID may require extra examination, fine tune the carding process. Nothing is more important than catching that under aged guest at the door—this is the ultimate key to prevention and protecting your business from risk!


Careful Carding Procedures:

*The first line of defense will be the points of entry to your bar—front, back or side. Security staff should be waiting with a flashlight in hand to check for ID validity or alteration to printed information. Chinese fake IDs have never been harder to detect and easier to acquire, so minors will be accessing them to gain entry to your bar.

*Make sure your entry area is well-lit not only for ID verification, but for getting a long, hard look at each patron’s appearance.  Be sure to check for the expiration date, date of birth, height, weight, and photo. Does the height and weight match the ID description? Does everything match up physically?

*Doormen should always politely ask for a valid ID and explain that it’s “house rules” to card every customer. Always have the guest pull their ID from their wallet for easy inspection and have them pull it from any protective plastic sleeve for scanning by black light.

*Black light technology should be used to carefully scrutinize each and every ID for tri-colored state-issued holographic seals. Chinese fakes don’t have tri-colored holograms and do not react well to black light and may appear very faint.

*Falsified Chinese IDs have an unusually strong reaction to the black light review

*The most common ploy to get into a bar comes in the form of an authentic ID that has been given to the underage patron by a sibling or other family member. Check the photo carefully—ask questions. Quiz the card holder on specific details—details that may be hard to remember if they have already been drinking because the fake ID worked elsewhere! If you’re suspicious, remind patrons that using a falsified ID or being caught under the influence as a minor can be grounds for criminal arrest.

*A state-issued license is easy to read and will clearly identify the name, address, age and physical characteristics of the holder. The back of a valid ID doesn’t have photo copy lines, imperfections or discoloration.

*Look for exclusionary statements such as, “Not a Driver’s License,” “Personal Identification Only,” or State Resident Identification,” etc. No authentic state-issued ID uses these designations.

*When in doubt ask for a backup form of identification—a social security card, passport, birth certificate, health or car insurance card, checkbook, car registration, etc.

*If the ID is questionable—ask conversational questions about the state that “issued” it. Using a friendly tone ask, “Have you lived here/there all your life? What’s the capital of the state? What’s your zip code? Are you a donor?” A valid ID holder should be able to easily answer these questions with little hesitation.


*Post a sign at the entry requesting valid IDs before entry into your bar. This should also speed up the carding process as patrons will have their IDs in hand when they get to the door. In addition to that, post the state laws that license your establishment. Inform patrons that alcohol purchase and consumption by minors have criminal ramifications, and that it is unlawful to misrepresent legal age. Post your right to refuse service to anyone with identification deemed unsatisfactory. Be very careful that the denial of an ID should never be misinterpreted as a form of discrimination regarding race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation on the part of the employee or the bar ownership.

*Some states place a “red border” around the ID photo of those under the age of 21—don’t overlook that detail on a busy night.

*After reviewing the card for authenticity, thank the patron for their compliance and tell them to “have a good time.” I once worked at a bar where “thank-you” was followed by, “make good decisions!” That always brought a smile! Keep in mind that having these practices in play will go a long way toward eliminating risk for your customers, staff, management and ultimately for bar owners. Your goal should always be to promote fun and social atmosphere, but follow the law and make certain that you have a safe, controlled environment for all.


 Thank you for being a responsible seller or server of alcohol!  – the team at Serving Alcohol Inc


No refusal” DUI checkpoints could be coming to Tampa

Source: 10 News

Adam Freeman

Dec 31st

With New Year’s Eve only days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads. But now a new weapon is being used in the fight against drunk driving. It’s a change that could make you more likely to be convicted. “I think it’s a great deterrent for people,” said Linda Unfried, from Mother’s Against Drunk Driving in Hillsborough County.

Florida is among several states now holding what are called “no refusal” checkpoints.

It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test.

It’s already being done in several counties, and now Unfried is working to bring it to the Tampa Bay area. “I think you’ll see the difference because people will not drink and drive. I truly believe that,” she said. Not everyone is on board, though. DUI defense attorney Kevin Hayslett sees the mandatory blood test as a violation of constitutional rights.

“It’s a slippery slope and it’s got to stop somewhere,” Hayslett explained, “what other misdemeanor offense do we have in the United States where the government can forcefully put a needle into your arm?”

The federal government says Florida has among the highest rates of breathalyzer refusal.

“Now you’ve got attorneys telling their clients, don’t blow, don’t blow! Because we know from the results from these machines that they’re not operating as the state or the government says they’re supposed to operate,” said Stephen Daniels, a DUI consultant and expert witness.

Supporters, though, say you could see the “no refusal” checkpoints in the Bay area by October. “We don’t want to violate people’s civil rights. That’s the last thing we want to do, but we’re here to save lives,” Unfried said. She adds that this type of checkpoint would be heavily advertised, with the goal of deterring any drunk driving. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has recently said he wants to see more states hold similar programs.

‘Super drunk’ drivers face tougher punishment with new Michigan law

Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010, 6:59 AM

Starting on Oct. 31, there will be two kinds of drunken drivers in Michigan: standard and “super.”

Standard are those with blood alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.16 percent. The super drunk, a new category under state law, are first-time offenders who test at 0.17 or above.

The designation confers no special powers, just super-high penalties and super-stiff fees.

Fines and other costs could top $8,000, some defense attorneys predict. Alcohol treatment is mandatory, possible jail time is doubled, and driving is forbidden for 45 days.

The penalties include another first for Michigan: a requirement to install an in-car breathalyzer.

To resume driving after 45 days, first-time super-drunk offenders must buy an ignition interlock, which works by testing a driver’s breath and allows the car to run only if the driver is sober.

The change is part of an effort to toughen drunken driving penalties, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Michigan joined more than 40 states when the Legislature passed the standards with virtually no opposition at the end of 2008.

The technical term is “high blood alcohol content enhanced penalty law.” “We don’t really like calling it the super drunk law,” said Anne Readett, spokeswoman for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

Critics of the law, including defense lawyers, question its effectiveness.
Advocates call the measure positive but not enough – “a disappointing step in the right direction,” said Michigan MADD’s executive director, Homer Smith.
For example, state lawmakers set the blood-alcohol standard at 0.17 percent, bucking a trend toward tougher 0.15 thresholds preferred by MADD. And at least a dozen states require interlock devices for all convicted drunken drivers.
“The Legislature had an opportunity to do something that would significantly deter drunk driving,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, they chose to do less than the optimum.”

Michigan still considers 0.08 percent to be legally drunk, and the new law does not affect repeat offenders or people who face a felony for causing death, injury or damage.

About one-third of Michigan drivers whom police suspect of driving drunk test at the enhanced penalty levels.

Interlocks have gained in effectiveness and acceptance since 2007, when federal traffic safety officials began a campaign urging judges to require the devices.

A device costs the driver about $100 a month to maintain. Other costs to violators come from state driver responsibility fees and attorney fees.
First-time offenders who meet the super-drunk standard are looking at $8,000 to $10,000, according to defense attorney Gerald Lykins.

He is unconvinced the law will be effective.
“I’m not sure that penalizing someone who blows a 0.17 rather than 0.14 will prevent people from drunk driving,” he said. “The driver responsibility fee was supposed to reduce bad driving, but that hasn’t worked.”
MADD counters that enhanced penalties are working in other states. New Mexico, for instance, has had a 20 percent reduction in alcohol-related crashes since its law was passed in 2005.

Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Aubrey Sharp said the new penalties treat offenses in proportion to one another.
“You have a person with a 0.09 blood alcohol level who is punished the same as someone with a 0.32,” Sharp said.

Others take a wait-and-see approach. Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said penalties already are harsh.

“It’s still drunk driving and I don’t see how it’s really going to change,” he said.
Grand Rapids Assistant City Attorney Mike Tomich calls the law “a useful tool for public safety.” But he said he is not certain the provisions will change behavior overall.

Grand Rapids District Court Judge Jeanine LaVille, who oversees sobriety court, said the added mandatory penalties take more discretion from judges, who have crafted sentences based on individual needs and offenses.

“We’re already doing what the Legislature suggests,” LaVille said.

Attorney Lykins said if the state wants to prevent drunken driving, lawmakers could consider taking the law to its logical conclusion.

“We could demand that car manufactures have interlock devices as standard equipment,” Lykins said, “just like seatbelts.”

Delaware alcohol division head faces DUI charge

LEWES — A retired state trooper who heads Delaware’s Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement faces a drunken-driving charge and possible disciplinary action after being arrested in her state-owned car north of Lewes.

Siobhan G. Sullivan, 46, who lives near Rehoboth Beach, also was cited with speeding when state troopers pulled her over at about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 7 on Route 1 near Minos Conaway Road, court records show.

Sullivan, who was Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s security chief before taking the new post in November 2008, is the sixth high-ranking state official — including three criminal prosecutors — charged with drunken driving in the last 26 months. On Sunday, state Rep. Brad Bennett was arrested in Lewes with a blood-alcohol level of 0.155, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.
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