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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.


Boston to Wrap the "T" in Alcohol Ads

a boston T wrapped in alcohol advertisingHow much is a kid worth? The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), facing budget shortfalls, rescinded a five-year-old policy banning alcohol ads on Boston-area public transit this past November. The board—which operates separately from the city of Boston—voted 3-2 to allow alcohol advertising despite Mayor Martin Walsh’s strenuous objections.

Now some Bostonians, led by the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force, are pushing to put them back in place. Alcohol Justice strongly supports their efforts, and have long promoted restricting alcohol ads on public property, including buses, trains, stations, and shelters. Youth are heavy users of public transit, and research confirms the common-sense assumption that greater exposure to alcohol advertising early in life makes a kid more likely to drink when they got older.

“This is short-sighted and reckless, and it sells out the kids,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director/CEO of Alcohol Justice. “Whatever money MBTA think they’re making now, they’ll lose it paying for harm to the next generation.”

According to the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force, underage drinking costs Massachusetts $1.2 billion yearly—more than 500 times the revenue the ads are expected to raise. And MBTA’s safeguards are ludicrous—while ads cannot be run in T stations where more than 10 percent of riders use student passes, that has nothing to do with where the riders get off. And starting in April, the MBTA intends to abandon the last vestige of subtlety, selling full-train wraps to alcohol companies.

Alcohol Justice urges its colleagues to join the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force in putting Boston’s kids first. Do not let the MBTA board lose sight of whom it serves: those who need it most.

TAKE ACTION to get alcohol ads off the T. 


New Book Highlights Community Efforts to Prevent Harm

kids protesting for their own health and futureAlcohol control remains one of the most pressing public health projects of our time. It is complicated by a wealthy alcohol industry that wields tremendous social, political, and economic clout. Still, there have been some victories. Alcohol Justice Executive Director/CEO Bruce Lee Livingston and Advocacy Manager Director Jorge Castillo have been asked to recount a few of theirs in the new book, Preventing Alcohol-Related Problems: Evidence and Community-Based Initiatives, out now from APHA Press.

The book pairs research essays with case studies of successful prevention campaigns throughout the Unite States. To illustrate strategies to counter alcohol industry marketing, Livingston details Alcohol Justice’s campaign to remove alcohol ads from public transit in several cities in California. Castillo recounts a Friday Night Live campaign to restrict alcopop sales in Richmond, CA. Their chapters are alongside contributions from preeminent researchers and community advocates addressing critical topics in reducing harm including violence, service, age restrictions, disparities, and treatment, among others.

"Looking at everyone who pitched in to this book and all those successful projects across the country really reminds you that yes, local communities can win fights against Big Alcohol,” said Castillo.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Problems is available through the APHA store. Alcohol Justice contributors do not receive remuneration from sales of the book.

READ MORE about alcopops’ effects on youth.

READ MORE about how to get alcohol advertising off of public transit.