SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — This time of year, many bartenders say they’re used to seeing people reflecting with a bit too much to drink and not enough dough to pay for a ride home.
But lawmakers say they have an easy fix with a new law that goes into effect on New Year’s Day.
Assembly Bill 711 will allow bartenders like Sukhraj Kaur at Bombay Bar and Grill to serve up a free ride home for her customers.
“They’re totally drunk they don’t know what to do,” she said.
Current law restricts bartenders and others who sell alcohol, from offering rides to customers.
“It became apparent to me for example during the Super Bowl back in Santa Clara County—and we wanted to ensure the public safety at hand,” said the law’s author Assemblyman Evan Low (D- Silicon Valley).
It allows liquor manufacturers and businesses to team up with ride-sharing and cab companies to give out vouchers or promo codes to help people get a ride and, more importantly, get home safe.
The service is already offered in 44 states.
Many call it common-sense.
“If they’re going to be drinking anyway, then it makes more sense,” said Alexander Darling.
“I don’t want to be out on the road and have somebody who shouldn’t be driving because they’re impaired,” said Shirley Darling.
But alcohol watchdog groups say the law will do just that.
Alcohol Justice says the new law promotes the overconsumption of alcohol, which is responsible for 10,500 alcohol-related deaths annually.
“It’s my assessment that individuals will drink regardless, but we want to at least provide this safety net for them to do so responsibly,” said Low.
Responsible drinking is what Sukhraj Kaur is hopeful for this holiday season.
“We want them to go their home safely, that’s it,” she said.
The new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, a day late for the busy drinking on New Year’s Eve. Until then, AAA will offer free rides and tows on New Year’s Eve.
According to the California Highway Patrol, it’s one of the deadliest holidays for car accidents.