San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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October 14th, 2008
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) official position supports uniform bar closing

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) advocates setting uniform statewide cut off limits on the sale of alcoholic beverages in order to end the practice of ‘barhopping’ to find establishments with later closing hours for ‘one last drink’ with the likelihood of impaired driving as a result. The PAC shares this concern and asks each responsible person to vote in favor of this referendum.So far in 2008, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety statistics provided to Hospitality San Marcos under Freedom of Information requests, there have been two fatalities, two incapacitating injuries and two non-incapacitating injuries along the corridor defined as East 6th Street in Austin to Posey Road between the hours of 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. involving alcohol and drivers between the ages of 18 to 25. Additionally, information published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that Hays County had over twice as many alcohol-related traffic fatalities per 100.000 population in 2007 than Travis County, Bexar County and Comal County. (http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/STSI/48_TX/2007/Counties/Texas_Hays%20County_2007.HTM)

In concert with Hospitality San Marcos, MADD along with a group of concerned citizens, understand that far too many people leave San Marcos after the bars close at one o’clock on Saturdays and at midnight the rest of the week in search of later closing times. These people often make dangerous round trips to Austin or San Antonio and back, endangering themselves and others. Supporters feel that the solution to this problem is to give people the opportunity to stay in San Marcos, keeping our drivers off dangerous IH 35 late at night. We have seen too many results of San Marcos drivers coming back from Austin because of our limited closing time. According to the University Star, Texas State’s student newspaper, Councilwoman Pam Couch echoed this concern, saying “I just want to get the kids off Interstate 35.” Safety of our citizens is cited by proponents of the referendum as the key reason for their support of this referendum.

Hospitality San Marcos S-PAC was formed to advocate the passage of this referendum.

by: Hospitality San Marcos S-PAC

(Note: Newstreamz publisher Scott Gregson is an active supporter of this campaign)

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0 thoughts on “Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) official position supports uniform bar closing

  1. How many of the drunks on 35 late at night are people that spent the whole night in Austin versus person who were here till 11 pm or later and then went to Austin?
    Is MADD’s endorsement of allowing alcohol sales later based on any empiracal data, or just what they think may be right? MADD has a history of disreagrading data that disagrees with them.

  2. Brete, hopefully there is some data to back this up. Anecdotally, I can say that I made that trip many times and I know people who do now.

    I think getting the drunks off 35 is a great START and I hope this helps. I’d still like to see it tied to a more comprehensive plan to get drunks off ALL of the streets, including the ones that pass so many of our houses.

    Or, is it ok when someone gets killed on the square or in a neighborhood, as long as they aren’t killed on 35?

  3. There were plenty of times that we skipped San Marcos altogether and went straight to 6th Street, or Dance Across Texas (75 cent pitchers and a 40 minute drive home – great idea) or wherever.

    So, I agree that it would be interesting to see how many drunks this would get off 35.

  4. Does anyone know what this will do to the cops in this town? Longer hours for them to work? How will this affect them?

  5. I’ll echo Mr Marchut’s comment…I regretfully made this “after hours” drive often, while in college, and knew/ know several people that did as well. Maybe I am naive, but this might also encourage more business/ revenue in San Marcos because people would choose to stay as opposed to going to Austin, or starting out in Austin. I think it is important to understand all the trickle down effects of this proposal, and also have someone sort of “Free Ride Home” plan in place, like the one in Austin.

  6. Opinion, I am sure that patrols will be stepped up in the city at first. If DUI’s increase so will patrols. Drinking in a “controlled environment” closer to home should lower the rate of high speed incidents.. I agree Ted that DUI is a problem but one is much less likely to die from a collision at 35 mph than at 65 mph even if a driver hit a pedestrian. Serving alcohol in a bar or restaurant is a huge responsibility.
    By reducing the commute you also reduce the time your body has to absorb alcohol. This reduces the chance that alcohol will metabolize fast enough to outwit vigilant servers to a dangerous level on your much shorter commute home . Drinking and driving is going to continue to be a problem but I do not see this legislation adding to traffic fatalities. I am glad to see MADD on board.

  7. j porter, you are correct that fatalities are less likely at 35 mph than 65. Sadly, many of the drunks are not going through the neighborhoods at 35 mph and I would question whether the truck that knocked the house off its foundation on Holland was even going as slow as 65 mph.

    I too would put controlled environment in quotes as some bars are more “controlled” than others. When I worked in various bars around town, I cleaned plenty of vomit and dealt with plenty of people who were very far out of control.

    That being said, better programs to get people home would be a great addition, as would incentives for bars to stay open for a couple of hours after they stop serving, to allow things to wind down. A big part of the problem I saw when I was working in bars, was that people were sent home very shortly after last call, causing them to pound down whatever drinks were left and head out the door.

    Not only did this put a lot of drunks on the road, but it sent people home with the mindset that the party was just starting and so it continued at their houses and apartments. If the party could wind down where it started, there might be fewer drunks on the road and fewer after-hours parties.

    There’s really an endless list of possible solutions, limited only by our creativity and willingness to do something. I’d just like to see this be the first step toward getting the issue under control.

  8. Ted, did i work with you at the Hole in the Wall?!
    You make great points and everyone is right.
    It’s very complicated. The scary thing for many is that once you go to 2am, there is no going back as I recall.
    And good question, opinion. Last time this came to an actual vote, the SMPD fought against it. The arguments for and against are exactly the same now as they were 6 years ago but for that one question- is SMPD on board? Oh, and the MADD endorsement.

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