Legalization of Happy Hour Fireworks Among Approved Ballot Question

Does anyone really miss happy hour? The practice of discounted drinks, special promotions, and 2-for-1 drinks was discontinued or banned in 1984 in order to reduce the incidence of drunk driving accidents.  However, its return will be decided by Massachusetts voters in November 2022 along with 15 other proposals including legalizing fireworks, stricter voter ID requirements, and how ride-share drivers are to be classified. 

It takes 80,239 valid signatures to get a proposal on the ballot to the Secretary of State’s office by December 1.  The legislature can still act to reject a proposal but advocates can round up an additional 13,374 more signatures to override the rejection by next June so that the proposal can appear on the November 2022 ballot. 

Happy hour is a program designed to encourage more drinkers to attend bars, clubs, and restaurants during days and hours when these establishments are not as busy.  By discounting the price of drinks, waiving entrance fees, or offering two drinks for the price of one, patrons will undoubtedly imbibe more alcohol resulting in more intoxicated people who may decide to drive after a few drinks or more.  From a public safety perspective, this makes no sense.  

Happy Hour Car Accident Lawyer

Bar owners had a mixed reaction to the proposal.  Some stated that they were absolutely against the ban when it was instituted nearly 40 years ago, but are now used to not having it. While they may see increased profits, business owners will have to contend with the increased risk of serving underage customers, dealing with unruly drunks, and possible dram shot liability if an obviously intoxicated patron is served who then drives away and injures or kills someone in a traffic accident.  (Note, some of these same bar owners said they would go out of business if the state banned smoking in bars – and bars are more popular than ever notwithstanding the ban!)

However, things are changed since 1984.  Drunk driving laws are more strict with greater penalties. Since the 1980s, the legal limit for drinking and driving has been lowered from a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) of 0.10% to 0.08%. Also, ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber offer far more opportunities for people to let someone else drive while they can enjoy themselves without being too concerned about how much alcohol they drink. 

Should the happy hour measure pass, bar and club patrons will have to contend with possibly more stringent traffic enforcement as well as more intoxicated drivers on the road to avoid. 

Current Drunk Driving Statistics for Massachusetts 

Even though happy hour is banned, at least for now, our state has not been leading the way in reducing injury and fatal accidents involving alcohol.  For 2018, the state’s percentage of alcohol-impaired fatalities out of total fatal accidents was 33.3%, which is above the national average of 28.8%. 

Massachusetts is also above the national average for percentage of drivers in fatal accidents with at least a BAC of 0.15% and in fatal crashes involving repeat offenders where the driver’s BAC was between 0.08% and 0.14%.  But we are doing better in the 10-year change in alcohol -impaired fatalities overall per 100,000 population. 

Safe Driving Tips

Anyone who drives needs to be aware of the traffic laws and to be cautious at all times. By taking either public transportation, a taxi, or a Lyft or Uber, you not only reduce your carbon footprint but also can be assured that your driver has not been drinking, regardless of whether you have been. 

Other safe driving tips include:

  • Do a service check of your car for tire air pressure and tread depth
  • Immediately seek service if your brakes grind or you need to brake longer to slow down
  • In the winter, have functional windshield wipers, window cleaner, and anti-freeze as well as chains or snow tires
  • Avoid going out in bad weather, whether you are driving or not 
  • Always check for vehicles from every direction before proceeding into a controlled intersection where the light just changed to green
  • Be aware of bicycle lanes and keep at least 3-feet distance from a bicyclist 
  • Look for vehicles turning left in front of you
  • If you have been drinking, wait before driving or consider an alternative way to get home
  • Think ahead if you are planning on having happy hour drinks about how you will get to the bar and how you plan to leave 

Damages in Car Accident Injury Claims 

Damages in car accident injury cases depend widely on the nature and extent of the victim’s injuries and how their injuries have affected their life. Damages typically include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future wage loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Permanent injury or disfigurement
  • Spousal loss of consortium

Only an experienced car accident attorney can ensure you get the damages to which you are entitled and that are reasonable given the nature of your injuries. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident, a car accident attorney can investigate the circumstances to hold all responsible parties accountable. 

Retain a Car Accident Attorney from Burns and Jain 

A car accident attorney from Burns and Jain has a record of success in trying and settling car accident injury claims over the years. If you or a loved one suffered injuries, call our office at (617) 227-7423 for a free consultation about your claim.

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