SACRAMENTO–Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) requiring bartenders to receive training that will help reduce drunk-driving accidents and other alcohol-related problems.
Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher authored the bill in the wake of a 2015 drunk-driving crash that killed two San Diego medical students.
“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.”
AB 1221 passed the Assembly 69-3 on Sept. 11 after passing the Senate 35-3 on Sept. 7.
In May 2015, two UC San Diego medical students were killed by a wrong-way drunk driver in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. The drunk driver was leaving a local restaurant when he went the wrong way on State Route 163 and caused the collision that killed two and injured three other students. In the wake of the accident, classmates of the victims have worked with Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher and her office to develop legislation that would better equip servers to identify signs of overconsumption and intervene before tragedy strikes.
Emulating similar laws in 18 states and the District of Columbia, Assembly Bill 1221 requires that bartenders and servers receive mandatory training on alcohol responsibility. Such training would help bartenders know the legal obligations of their employer; avoid over-serving customers; and spot other potential problems.
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has a free Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD), and many local governments have made this training mandatory. AB 1221 makes this training a requirement throughout the state.