More than 25 Virginia Beach bartenders and waitstaff will pick up some crucial holiday “tips” this Monday, as the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) steps up efforts to train restaurant staff on selling and serving alcohol responsibly.
Thanks to a grant from the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA), ABC ‘s “Operation: Prevent Impaired Driving” campaign includes additional free, custom training classes for Virginia Beach establishments that teach restaurant workers how to recognize and avoid selling to intoxicated customers, underage patrons, and to develop skills in identifying fake IDs.
On Monday, Nov. 17, from 1-4 p.m., two Virginia ABC special agents will hold an on-site training session for more than 25 bartenders, waitstaff and hosts at the Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 3315 Atlantic Ave., and coach them on Virginia’s alcohol laws with a special focus on recognizing and not serving intoxicated patrons.
“Restaurants play a key role in helping to reduce DUIs,” said ABC Special Agent in Charge Leon Coleman. “It’s important we take a stand on combating impaired driving, and work with our licensee community to educate and assist them in efforts to reduce alcohol-related crashes.”
Last year in Virginia, more than 27,000 people were convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). In addition, more than 5,280 people were injured and 250 killed in alcohol-related crashes, a roughly 10 percent increase over 2012. Virginia Beach was one of the top five jurisdictions across the state for DUI convictions.
“We will be increasing education and enforcement operations in local establishments with a goal of stopping alcohol-impaired patrons from ever getting behind the wheel,” said ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement Director Shawn Walker. “We’re asking on-premise establishments to be especially diligent in recognizing and not serving intoxicated customers this holiday season and always,” he said.
The $21,000 NLLEA grant, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, kicked off on Labor Day weekend and will continue throughout the winter holidays until Jan. 31, 2015. ABC’s efforts will coincide with increased enforcement by the Virginia Beach Police Department and prevention groups this holiday season, creating a community front against impaired driving.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.8 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 350 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 16,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now celebrating its 80th anniversary, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
Virginia ABC Steps Up Training Efforts to Help Reduce DUIs During Busy Holiday Season