State ABCC Takes Aim at Drunk Driving

State Treasurer Steven Grossman and the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC), in conjunction with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Impaired Driving Crackdown, will focus enforcement efforts at bars throughout the commonwealth during the 2012 holiday season.

The operation started the night before Thanksgiving, and will continue through New Year’s Eve.

“This type of enforcement effort can save lives and prevent tragedies before they happen,” said Grossman. “Operation Safe Holidays takes immediate and effective steps that result in the direct prevention of drunk driving and serving of intoxicated individuals during the busy holiday season.

“These programs create safer roads and highways throughout the commonwealth by discouraging drunk driving and by establishing a long-term deterrence for bar and restaurant owners to over-serve patrons,” said ABCC Chairwoman Kim Gainsboro.

Impaired driving is a significant cause of injuries and fatalities in the United States and is estimated to cost $37 billion annually. In 2010 more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – one person every 51 minutes.

Sale to Intoxicated Persons (SIP) enforcement by the ABCC is considered an effective tool to stop it at the source. Well over 50% of impaired driving arrests originate at Massachusetts bars.

To date in 2012, the ABCC has conducted enforcement operations in approximately 200 municipalities throughout the commonwealth and has responded to 500 complaints relative to underage drinking and the sale of alcohol to intoxicated individuals. Approximately 250 bars and liquor stores have been charged with violations under the Liquor Control Act.

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