65° Good Afternoon
65° Good Afternoon

Letter: Cracking down on bars over-serving

Alcohol in a martini glass.

Alcohol in a martini glass. Credit: iStock

Each time the topic of a bartender's role in preventing drunken driving is raised, I find myself in conflict ["Crackdown on bars over DWI," News, May 24].

We have all heard terms like happy drunk, angry drunk, fall-down drunk and more. It is clear that different individuals behave differently under the influence of alcohol. How can a bartender know, except in extreme cases of inebriation, that a customer is sufficiently intoxicated to compromise his or her judgment or reaction time?

How many drinks has the customer had? Did he drink at a different location before entering a particular bar? Many inebriated individuals are capable of pleasant banter at the bar. Unless the bartender is required to administer and interpret a field sobriety test, it is unrealistic to expect a server to make such determinations with surety.

Having acknowledged that, we might then take the position to err on the side of caution and refuse service when intoxication is suspected. Perhaps we need to give bartenders the tools to make such determinations if we are going to require servers to make them. Individual rights must be considered along with the greater good.

Stan Feinberg, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer is a retired alcoholism and substance abuse counselor.