2022 Holiday Safety Campaign Kickoff

This holiday season, the Center is pleased to continue our efforts to support safe consumption of alcohol with the launch of a new Holiday Safety Campaign.  We are partnering with members of organizations like the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association and the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program to remind people to have a safe and happy holiday season. 

Alcohol is a unique product and is regulated differently from other goods.  Strong regulations are important to maintain public safety.  A poll released by the Center found that 87% of Americans believe the American alcohol industry needs to be regulated.  At the Center, we educate policymakers, regulators, and the public on the reasons why alcohol is different. 

As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Center wanted to thank law enforcement for their efforts to keep us safe as we travel during one of the busiest times of the year.  Travel and Leisure Magazine reports an estimated 69% of Americans will travel by road during the holidays in 2022.

The roads are especially dangerous this year.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks annual fatalities and from 2019 to 2021, estimates show that traffic deaths increased by 18%!

This past summer, we hosted a webinar series focused on issues that alcohol can impact.  Specifically, we did a deep dive on traffic safety and law enforcement.  Our speakers looked at both upstream and downstream solutions for safety including historical trends, what has been effective in the past, and what needs to occur in the future.  If you didn’t get a chance to attend, we encourage you to view the recorded sessions as there is a lot of good content. 

One thing we learned is that law enforcement is under tremendous pressure as they navigate new challenges.  A report we issued last year, The History of Drunk Driving, found that in 2020, police retirements were up 45 percent, resignations up 18%, and a 5% decrease in new hires.  This, coupled with broader society challenges, meant DUI arrests were down while DUI deaths and injuries increased.     

In addition to challenges in traffic enforcement, changes to alcohol laws and sales practices are adding making law enforcement’s job more complex.  The pandemic sent state legislators across the country scurrying to keep local businesses afloat.  In the alcohol industry, “cocktails to go” became a popular way for bars and restaurants to keep sales going when carryout was the only option. 

But did states react too quickly?  The Center published an essay by Patrick Maroney, “Crisis De-Regulations” Should They Stay or Should They Go?, where he describes the rush to make these new alcohol laws permanent.  His recommendation?  “Festina Lente,” which means “make haste slowly.” 

Maroney argues that while Covid 19 did create a crisis for businesses and sales, states need to be thoughtful when making permanent changes to alcohol sales.  His essay shows that the three-tiered alcohol sales system is a “proven regulatory system that monitors…sales and compliance with liquor laws.”

Cocktails to go and alcohol delivery services have raised serious safety concerns.  Another report issued by the Center, Open Container Laws and Alcohol-To-Go, examined the impact of relaxing alcohol sales on drinking and driving.  Will these laws make it easier for underage drinkers to purchase alcohol? 

During our traffic safety webinar, we heard from Matt Stemple who shared videos of underage people using popular alcohol delivery services to illegally purchase alcohol in North Carolina.  In some cases, delivery drivers failed to check for IDs and in one instance, a driver warned that she was going to get in trouble for allowing the sale of the alcohol when the purchaser was clearly underage.  

While there have been changes to alcohol laws over the last two years, we know that the U.S. continues to have one of the safest alcohol sales systems in the world.  State-based alcohol regulation in conjunction with a three-tier system is critical to ensuring public health and safety.  We also know that Americans support the system.  A 2021 national survey commissioned by the Center found that 83% of Americans want states to regulate alcohol through the three-tiered system.

The Center looks forward to continuing to share our work to keep alcohol and the public safety and again thank our partners for joining us this holiday season. 


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Center for Alcohol Policy
277 S. Washington Street Suite 500-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090 info@centerforalcoholpolicy.org