- Andrew Napolitano
BOSTON -- This New Year's Eve will require additional efforts by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) enforcement team. In addition to its annual impaired driving program, agency Investigators will be ensuring that restaurants and bars throughout the Commonwealth comply with COVID Safety Standards and the 10 PM mandatory night-time closing period.
"This holiday season is unlike any other and for that reason alone we must remain diligent," said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who oversees the ABCC. "We want to ensure that everyone is celebrating the holiday safely, while also limiting the risk of exposure to themselves and loved ones."
To date, Investigators have found the majority of restaurants to be in compliance with the Governor's Orders and Safety Standards. Facility layouts are maintaining proper distancing and restaurant staff and patrons have been wearing proper facial coverings. However, 38 bars have had their liquor licenses indefinitely suspended, when the commission found that they had flagrantly violated the Safety Standards while several more have pending hearings.
Treasurer Goldberg announced today that the impaired driving enforcement efforts will focus on bars previously identified as those most frequently known to sell alcohol to a convicted drunk driver. In addition to police stops of impaired drivers, Sale to Intoxicated Persons (SIP) enforcement by the ABCC is considered an effective tool by Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) officials nationwide. These officials agree that consistent enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons is vital to impaired driving prevention, as well as an overall reduction in criminal activity.
"These efforts support safer roads throughout Massachusetts," added Treasurer Goldberg. "This kind of enforcement establishes a long-term deterrence for bar owners from over-serving, helping keep the public safe."
Alcohol is involved in 40% of traffic crash fatalities resulting in 17,013 fatalities and injuring an estimated 275,000 people annually. Data indicates that well over 50% of impaired driving arrests originate at bars.