Drinking Drunk

Sunday, October 27, 2013
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Does Santa Barbara taking drinking and driving seriously? I don’t feel it does.

My own observation: I have been to a few bars and restaurants that seem to only care about profit. If you sit at a bar long enough, you will see the bartender talk to the customers as if they were his best friend. Do customers ever stop to think that the more the bartender talks to you, the more money he knows he is going to make in a tip? When I have tried to talk to an officer about this, all I heard was a laugh.

I live outside of Santa Barbara now, but there is no way I would live in a city where drinking and driving is not taken seriously. I wish the news media would go undercover and see for themselves how no one is getting the message when it comes to drinking and driving.

One time I observed a man come in obviously drunk. The bartender continued to serve him alcohol anyway. The man could barely walk. A patron called him a cab, but the restaurant could have cared less.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Umm...shouldn't the headline say "DRIVING Drunk"?

Jess wondrin'.

RexOfSB (anonymous profile)
October 27, 2013 at 5:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Rex. you don't have to be drunk to be stupid.

winddancer1562 (anonymous profile)
October 27, 2013 at 7:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Do the bars push the Chamber of Commerce to push the city politicians to push the SBPD to avoid bars at closing time? Just asking, really.

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
October 27, 2013 at 7:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When I wrote this letter to the Independent, I never titled it the way they did. The editor at the Independent must have done that. Why it was written like that is a mystery to me. I am just trying to help keep people safe from people who think it's ok be above the law and drive drunk.

DontDrink (anonymous profile)
October 28, 2013 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ms. Savage: You are correct and it isn't just the bar culture, it's the wine culture as well. Come up the Santa Ynez Valley and the place has gone from a nice vibrant place where people paid their bills and got along fine to one big bar for rich winos. Almost every topic up here is about alcohol.

People TALK about getting tough on drinking and driving, while promoting businesses who depend on people driving there, drinking, and then driving home. As I've pointed out on these blogs, my dad was hit and nearly killed by a BUZZED driver--whose BAC was 0.069--so one doesn't even have to be LEGALLY drunk to be dangerous, but the bars pop up all over Santa Barbara County like weeds in the backyard and of course, nobody is individually responsible for the havoc they reek.

I'm all for making money, but it's sad when people feel that the only way our economy can make money is at the expense of public safety, while the policians insist that it's good for the economy.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 28, 2013 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Preaching to the Crowd!
I agree also but we all know, "Money Talks and B*&^%$ Walks". When SB decides that the toll of deaths and damages on individuals screams louder than the Green Backs building healthy retirements for business, then maybe sanity will return but I really don't believe in a hundred years or more, this will ever happen.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2013 at 8:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Libertarians came up with a solution to much of the drinking and driving problem a long time ago - stop regulating the cab driving industry. It drives up prices significantly and this doesn't help persuade people to take a cab.

But here's a problem to the method of current enforcement: If a person who has been drinking drives home and doesn't drive erratically or commit any traffic violations, how do you stop them from driving home drunk? If they have been drinking but aren't impaired, should they receive a violation at all?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2013 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think we've long had an issue with drunk driving in SB, but my observation is that it's been just as tolerated in other places in CA (and the world) so we haven't cornered the market on lax attitudes towards deadly behavior.

The culture of alcohol is going through a resurgence and with the advent of new alcohol related businesses that go beyond bars (painting and drinking, wine tasting event nights) there will always be the chance for people to take in too much drink and make poor decisions. It's also the same poor decisions that make people get up from their sofa after three beers and decide to run to the store for more.

Nobody has to be a raging alcoholic to drive drunk. You can be impaired without realizing it. Most of us are impaired after 2-3 drinks over the course of a few hours with food - less for those who don't drink regularly or who are very small. Even if you're "sober" after that time frame, your reflexes can be a bit slower, slow enough to not be able to avoid an accident when it's someone else's fault. You can be dangerous even if you're not swerving all over the road, passing out behind the wheel.

I regularly see people out at restaurants drinking three times that in one dinner session. I doubt every one has a designated driver. It's scary out there. I'll be honest and say I'm not sure what the solution is, however I don't think it's any worse here than anywhere else.

Native1 (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2013 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent post Native1. Yes, the wine culture--deeply in denial--certainly isn't contributing anything useful to public safety.

I think what will ultimately happen is that the free market will put the brakes on much of this. Simply put, when more people are killed and maimed by impaitred drivers, lawsuits will start, lawyers will see the opportunity for $$$, and when enough of these hosts of wine events have to pay out of their deep pockets, (not to mention the individuals who will have to deal with the rude awakening of realizing they have hurt or killed someone--assuming they have a conscience) eventually getting people boozed up in order to make some money won't be so trendy anymore.

50 years ago smoking was widespread and you could do it just about anywhere. The evidence finally became to much to refute in that case, and most likely something similar will happen with alcohol as well but I think only when the booze-peddlers and their customers get hit in the pocketbooks will we see this irresponsible behavior diminish.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2013 at 8:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

time for reform

ahem (anonymous profile)
December 6, 2013 at 8:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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