California allows beer producers to pay for taxi rides home

California has unanimously passed a bill that will allow drinks producers to offer free or discounted lifts through taxi companies and services like Uber to those out drinking.

The Assembly Bill 711, first introduced by democrat Evan Low, passed unanimously in the state senate last month and came into effect on 1 January.

Under previous California law, wine and liquor manufacturers can only provide free transportation for consumers at invitation-only events, such as concerts and parties. The new state law relaxes these rules and is intended to keep drink-drivers off the road and improve public safety.

The bill will “authorize a beer manufacturer, as defined, to provide consumers free or discounted rides, as described, for the purpose of furthering public safety”, the bill states. 

However while companies will be allowed to give out codes or vouchers in return for transportation, they cannot use them as incentives to buy a brand’s product.

“The bill would prohibit conditioning a free or discounted ride, or the provision of a voucher, code, or other method of delivery, upon the purchase of an alcoholic beverage,” it adds. “The bill would prohibit a beer and wine wholesaler from directly or indirectly underwriting, sharing in, or contributing to, the costs of free or discounted rides or from serving as an agent of a beer manufacturer to provide free or discounted rides to consumers.”

Some 44 states already allow drinks producers to pay for free or discounted rides. Last year, Anheuser-Busch partnered with Lyft to offer more than 64,000 rides home to drinkers across the country as part of its Give a Damn campaign to reduce drink driving.

While the bill was, unsurprisingly, supported by ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft, Alcohol Justice, an industry watchdog that campaigns against the misuse of alcohol was opposed.

“While free rides for people who would drive dangerously is a good thing, these promotions are delivered before the fact – rather than help address acutely intoxicated would-be drivers, they normal overconsumption and encourage recipients to go out and drink dangerously,” it stated.

One Response to “California allows beer producers to pay for taxi rides home”

  1. Klark Kent says:

    There is something like this in Taiwan too, however, the difference is that the bar or establishment usually offers some sort of discount or free drink for using the ride services.

    http://www.kingblockdean.com
    FB – Klark Kent / E.A.T.

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