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Will the Return of Happy Hour to Illinois Mean More Drunk Driving Crashes?

Posted on in Drunk Driving Accidents

Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,The Governor of Illinois recently signed a new law which many fear will cause an increase in the number of drunk drivers there are on the state’s road – ultimately leading to more injuries and fatalities from crashes caused by those drunk drivers.

The new law opens the door for businesses which serve alcohol to offer “happy hours” to their customers. Happy hours were banned by Illinois lawmakers in 1989, but Senate Bill 398 was introduced in order to lift that ban. The bill was presented to the Illinois Senate in January of this year, and passed by that legislative body in April by a vote of 44 to 9. The bill then went on to the House, and lawmakers there passed the bill in May by a vote of 82 for and 31 against.

With the passing of the new law, bars will now be able to offer drink discounts up to four hours a day, for a total of 15 hours per week. Businesses will be required to advertise happy hours at least a week in advance of the event, and all discounts must end by 10 p.m. There are also other restrictions, such as not being allowed to offer any volume drink specials, no games which involve alcohol and alcohol cannot be given as prizes.

In an effort to help combat drunk driving, the new law also requires anyone who serves alcohol to take a responsible server training course. The course is currently being offered in Cook County and officials say the training will be available throughout the entire state within two years.

Although many owners of businesses who serve alcohol were in favor of the bill, there were also many who were not. Many expressed concern that offering happy hours only encourages people to drink more, which often leads to problems in the establishment themselves, with drunk patrons causing problems for both servers and other customers.

There is also a great concern for the potential deadly consequences of those drunken patrons causing motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, there were over 900 people killed on Illinois roads, with 32 percent of those accidents caused by alcohol. In 1988, the year before happy hour was banned in the state, 49 percent of that year’s fatal crashes were alcohol-related.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact an experienced Lake County accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the driver for pain and loss.

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