Evaluation of A Responsible Beverage Service and Enforcement Program: Effects on Bar Patron Intoxication and Potential Impaired Driving by Young Adults

Studies of alcohol-related harm (violence, injury, illness) suggest that the most significant risk factors are the amount of alcohol consumed and whether obviously intoxicated patrons continue to be served. This study's objective was to investigate the effects of a responsible beverage service (RBS)/enhanced alcohol enforcement intervention on bars, bar patrons, and impaired driving. Two communities—Monroe County, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio—participated in a demonstration program and evaluation. The intervention applied RBS training, targeted enforcement, and corrective actions by law enforcement to a random sample of 10 identified problem bars in each community compared to 10 matched nonintervention problem bars. Data were collected over 3 waves on bar serving practices, bar patron intoxication, drinking and driving, and other alcohol-related harm from intervention and control bars and treatment and comparison communities. In Monroe County, New York, of the 14 outcome measures analyzed, 7 measures showed statistically significant differences from pre- to postintervention. Six of those measures indicated changes in the desired or positive direction and 2 measures were in the undesired or negative direction. Of note in the positive direction, the percentage of intervention bar patrons who were intoxicated decreased from 44 to 27% and the average blood alcohol concentration of patrons decreased from 0.097 to 0.059 g/dL pre- to postintervention. In Cleveland, Ohio, 6 of the 14 measures showed statistically significant changes pre- to postintervention with 6 in the positive direction and 4 in the negative direction. Of note, the percentage of pseudo-intoxicated patrons denied service in intervention bars increased from 6 to 29%. Of the 14 outcome measures that were analyzed in each community, most indicated positive changes associated with the intervention, but others showed negative associations. About half of the measures showed no significance, the sample sizes were too small, or the data were unavailable. Therefore, at best, the results of these demonstration programs were mixed. There were, however, some positive indications from the intervention. It appears that when bar managers and owners are aware of the program and its enforcement and when servers are properly trained in RBS, fewer patrons may become intoxicated and greater efforts may be made to deny service to obviously intoxicated patrons. Given that about half of arrested impaired drivers had their last drink at a licensed establishment, widespread implementation of this strategy has the potential to help reduce impaired driving.


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  • Accession Number: 01643219
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 9 2017 9:35AM