You know all about drinking responsibly, soon we will be hearing about serving responsibly. Perhaps you recall the tragic incident in San Diego two years ago when a drunken U.S. Marine driving his vehicle on the wrong side of the rode hit a car head on in which two UCSD medical students were traveling, killing both young women. Three other medical students in the car were injured. That accident prompted the victim’s classmates to lobby for legislation that would make it mandatory for alcohol servers to receive training about the effects of alcohol and how to serve responsibly.
A bill that passed in the California Assembly mandating alcohol responsibility training for bartenders was recently signed into law by Governor Brown. The new law, known as the Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training Program Act of 2017, requires the development of a statewide training program that will be administered by designated providers and will be mandatory education for any persons who will be serving alcohol. Alcohol servers will be required to complete this training in order to receive a required “Alcohol Server Certification.” The law requires that these programs be in operation on or before January 1, 2020. By July 1, 2021, all establishments that employ alcohol servers must require their servers to be certified.
The law broadly defines the parameters of the education but leaves it to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to develop the curriculum. The training must include information on the laws and regulations related to alcoholic beverage control and information on how alcohol affects the body. The training can be done in person or online. Presumably, it will include testing to make sure the student understands the information before the certificate is awarded. The certificate will be good for three years. Anyone who serves alcohol but fails to have or maintain a valid certificate will be subject to disciplinary action; however, the violation is not grounds for any criminal action.