The bartender who pours you a drink could be the same bartender who saves your life, or someone else’s, thanks to a new program launched by the state to curb drunk driving.
Local bartenders and other alcohol sellers can now sign up for a free online class to help prevent DUIs, drug use and sale to minors at their establishments. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has taken its long-running Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) class and turned it into an online course late last month.
Workers at all 447 ABC-licensed retail locations in Stanislaus County are eligible to take the course. Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate. The course is available to bar, restaurant and retail store owners and employees.
And the training isn’t just all academic. In a few years all employees at restaurants and bars that serve alcohol will be required to get certification. The new legislation passed last year takes effect in 2021, though the final process for the mandatory training has not been completed yet.
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ABC spokesman John Carr said the free training has been available in class form since 1991, but the sessions weren’t readily accessible to everyone because of distance and other factors. The two-hour online course takes participants through the different laws and regulations surrounding alcohol sales.
“(Alcohol servers) are important gatekeeps in the community. (The course) gives practical information on how to serve alcoholic beverage safely and compliantly,” Carr said. “Like checking ID, looking for signs of intoxication and a number of other things to help prevent DUIs and help keep community as safe as possible.”
In the first half of 2018 CHP had made more than 32,000 DUI arrests. Since its launch the course has had 1,350 people complete the training. ABC wants 10,000 servers and sellers to complete the course by the end of September.
To sign up for the free online LEAD class visit www.abc.ca.gov/programs/LEAD/Online_LEAD_Training.html.