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4 A.M. Last Call Research Update: "Splash Effect" Means One City's Party Is Another City's Pain

Six cities' plans to paint the town red will splash blood across the whole California map.

4 a.m. last calls will spill a lot of thisDespite outright rejection in last year's legislative cycle, the deep pockets of big nightclub promotion companies have persuaded the California legislature to revisit 4 a.m. last calls. The current version of the bill, still written by Scott Wiener but now labeled SB 905, only permits six cities to extend bar service hours. Those cities are San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, West Hollywood, Long Beach, and the City of Los Angeles.

Despite the tweaks to this bill, the problems plaguing it remain obvious. Sensible last call policies are valuable policies that reduce harm without criminalizing drinking. A study on Norway during a period of patchwork last call hours shows that extending them increased assaults by 17% per additional hour. In Sydney, Australia, efforts to deal with runaway chaos from overconsumption inspired a 2-hour reduction in bar hours that reduced violence by 22% to 45%, depending on the area. Other studies on drunk driving shows that 51% more drivers got in alcohol related crashes when leaving bars with extended last calls.

More simply, keeping a bar open later means the people there will have drunk more. Far from being under debate, more drinking underlies the ostensible economic benefits accruing the handful of massive nightclubs that are sponsoring this bill. What these operators, and their reckless proxy, Sen. Wiener, are trying to hide is how easily they will avoid any of the consequences. Instead, these consequences will be borne by the tens of millions of Californians outside these newfound "party zones," as drunk drivers pour out of the city center and into quiet outlying communities. The results will be disruptive and expensive at best, lethal at worst.

In California, fatal alcohol-related crashes an ongoing crisis. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, fully 20% more people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2016 than 2014. At the rate fatal crashes are increasing, the death toll will double between 2016 and 2024. This spike persists despite efforts to promote designated drivers, despite the claims of ride-sharing services… and despite the vacant platitudes of SB 905 supporters who want to profit and while hoping someone else deals with the aftermath.

By definition, DUIs do not occur at the place where the driver got drunk. Ventura County alone out of all California counties tracks the behaviors of drunk drivers going through its DUI diversion programs. They found that drivers had traveled an average of 7 miles before getting arrested, with a maximum of 150 miles. Around 15% of young adults were arrested returning from either Hollywood or Santa Barbara-both at least 30 miles from the Ventura County border.

With that in mind, Alcohol Justice assembled the Splash Maps for SB 905. These maps show 7-mile and 40-mile "splash zones" where the drunk driving damage will occur. In addition, we compiled lists of cities within the splash zones. (If you feel your community was not included in the list and should be, please let us know.)

LONG BEACH
thumbnail for the Long Beach splash map
splash zone MAP


splash zone city LIST

LOS ANGELES & WEST HOLLYWOOD
4 a.m. last call splash zone map for Los Angeles and West Hollywood
splash zone MAP


splash zone city LIST

SACRAMENTO
4 a.m. last call splash zone map for Sacramento
splash zone MAP


splash zone city LIST

SAN FRANCISCO & OAKLAND
SF Oakland splash thumb
splash zone MAP


splash zone city LIST

READ MORE about how Sen. Wiener exploits the deaths young Californians to pass a bill endangering many more.

READ MORE about how late last calls will hurt California.

TAKE ACTION to stop SB 905 and choose California lives over nightlife lobbies.


New 4 A.M. Bar Bill Puts Lipstick on a Pig

Late night woman sad on the sidewalkShortly after the defeat of SB 386, Scott Wiener’s bill to roll back last call times, Sen Wiener declared he would reintroduce nearly the same bill in 2018. While he claims the new version would limit late last calls to “only” six cities in California, those six cities fall in the metropolitan core for over 30 million residents—over 75% of the population of the state.

Research, as well as common sense, shows this bill will cost money and lives. This was evident when the previous version of the bill was introduced last year. However, by reintroducing a failed bill immediately after the earlier version was rejected, Sen. Wiener spits in the face of established State Senate norms. The current version claims to be a "new" bill by virtue of limiting late last calls to six cities in the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Los Angeles, but the effect is the same: greater alcohol consumption, more dangerous driving, more late-night violence and property damage. Moreover, the effected areas are in the centers of the most populous parts of the state. Over 75% of the state is within driving distance of late-night areas.

Once again, CAPA and Alcohol Justice call upon the California legislature to do the right thing and kill this bill. It would uphold the standards of the State Senate, and protect the lives of tens of millions of Californians.

READ MORE about Sen. Wiener's cynical and dangerous bill.

WATCH the video about SB 905.

TAKE ACTION to stop SB 905, the revived 4 A.M. Bar Bill.


Sacramento Burns with Harassment Hearings While Wiener Fiddles with Late Night Bar Bill

Public health & safety grassroots advocates pledge to defeat new attempt to keep bars, restaurants and clubs open past 2 a.m.

Scott Wiener tilting at very drunk windmillsSAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 28, 2017) - California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA), and Alcohol Justice are not surprised by Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) latest attempt to push the legislature in the direction of increasing profits for the late night industry at public expense. They are however puzzled by the timing of Wiener’s announcement on the day that the California state legislature began hearings on sexual harassment in the Capital.

“Senator Wiener is tone deaf to the important matters of the day,” stated Sara Cooley Broschart, Alcohol Justice Advocacy Manager. “As he talks about the importance of late night alcohol revenue, women in Sacramento are testifying about sexual misconduct by legislators at bars or fundraisers serving alcohol. The costs of this legislation to women, commuters, and neighbors far outweigh the benefits to a few bar owners. Senator Wiener needs to get his priorities straight.”

The unintended consequences of extending alcohol last call include:

  • quality of life deterioration for adjacent neighborhoods
  • drinkers driving from areas where bars close earlier to bars with later last calls
  • late night drinkers sharing the road with early morning commuters
  • increased DUI accidents and fatalities
  • limited budgets and personnel to deal effectively with the extra service calls

There is also vast peer-reviewed evidence that shows that two more hours of alcohol sales will nearly double alcohol-related violence, crime, police calls, emergency visits, etc.

"The Journal of the American Medical Association found that over 90% of domestic abusers were abusing alcohol not just regularly but at the time of the incident," stated Margot Bennett, Executive Director Women Against Gun Violence. "To protect families and communities at large, we must not only provide reasonable regulation of guns but also provide reasonable regulation of alcohol that includes restrictions on the hours it can be sold. A 4 a.m. last call is far from reasonable and will only push incidents of alcohol-related violence further into the early morning hours."

“The idea of bringing forward a bill to allow bars to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., especially in light of all the recent claims of sexual assault is unconscionable,” said Patty Hoyt, Alcohol Policy Coordinator at Discovery Counseling Center. “Serving alcohol until 4 a.m. will only increase the opportunities for unwanted advances and possible assaults as it will increase the amount of time people can consume and end up intoxicated.”

Wiener's failed first attempt this year (SB 384) was a dangerous piece of legislation that would have stripped away the standard protections of a normal 2 a.m. closing time. SB 384 drew the ire of local health, prevention, and recovery groups as well as MADD and law enforcement organizations that rallied at every opportunity to express strong opposition. They drew the attention and support of a steadily growing chorus of elected representatives, determined to call out the damage their constituents would suffer from an ostensible “local control” bill.

“The cost of authorizing the extension of hours for California’s 'nightlife industry' is not factored into their 6-billion-dollar economy: drunk driving, sexual assault or damage to personal property impact lives and public costs but not bar owners' balance sheets,” said Lisa Bridges, Co-Chair of CAPA—California Alcohol Policy Alliance. "Senator Wiener should know that CAPA, a diverse statewide coalition, is deeply committed to defeating any new attempt to keep bars, restaurants and clubs open past 2 a.m."

READ the press release.

READ MORE about Wiener's conference.

READ MORE about how last call times protect the public health.