Since June 1, 2016, Alabamans have had the legal right to purchase to-go beer from Alabama breweries. Odds are, you just might have stopped in to pick up some cold ones yourself. But, while the convenience of to-go beer cannot be denied, there are reasons to question this new legislation’s impact on Alabama roads and public safety.
Will To-Go Beer Cause an Increase in Alabama Accident Risk?
It is worth noting that Alabama was alone with regards to an absolute prohibition on to-go beer from breweries. Dan Roberts, Executive Director of the Alabama Brewers Guild, remarked that “Alabama was the only stated that had an absolute prohibition”. Roberts continued by adding that “in most states you can take beer from a brewery. It’s just not a question.”
Despite these assertions, the specifics of the law indicate the following changes to Alabama law:
- Breweries are now allowed to deliver two donated beer kegs to licensed charity events in the state
- Brewpubs are no longer limited to opening solely in historic districts/buildings and economically distressed areas
- Breweries making fewer than 60,000 barrels of beer per year are permitted to sell 288 ounces of beer per day to a customer for consumption away from the brewery
In effect, this will lead to increased tourism and beer sales. But with the obvious benefits of an increase in beer sales comes the reality that more alcohol is being consumed. Whether that alcohol is being consumed at charity events or in the home, the real question, from a safety perspective, is whether drinking and driving will increase.
Alabama is already a state troubled by high rates of drinking and driving deaths. Per capita, Alabama has some of the highest fatalities, and more troubling, some of the fewest drunk driving arrests relative to the number of deaths.
On the other hand, Alabama’s beer consumption per capita is 30.2 gallons, which is 22nd highest in the nation. As such, there is reason to believe the problem is not so much stemming from beer consumption. Rather, it could be traced to the fact Alabama has 101,811 miles of public roads and under-funded road safety measures across the state.
As such, it seems altogether too hasty to conclude one way or the other that the new legislation will negatively impact the safety of Alabama citizens. However, the data on Alabama drinking accidents ought to be carefully monitored in the years ahead to make a better determination.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of drunk driving in an Alabama accident, Noel B. Leonard helps you receive compensation for your injuries as he works to hold drunk drivers accountable for their negligence. From his Foley office, Noel represents injured victims of drunk driving in Foley as well as residents living in Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia Counties.
Contact Alabama injury lawyer Noel B. Leonard or call 251-943-8638 for a legal consultation to take the first steps toward repairing and rebuilding your life.