”Drunk Driving is a Public Health Crisis.”

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Feb 19, 2016 (San Diego) Last may there was yet another drunk driving incident on our roads. A drunk got on the 163 going the wrong way and crashed against an oncoming vehicle, killing two UCSD medical students. These were Anne Li Baldock, 24 and Elizabeth Cornwell, 23. They were on the cost pf starting clinical work with patients, and were considered brilliant by their peers.

Many of their classmates, and some of their instructors, gathered outside the UCSD Medical School, to speak of this. They came to honor their fellow classmates, but also support Assembly Bill 2121.

AB 2121 will require, starting on July 1, 2020 alcohol servers and managers “to have completed a course on responsible beverage service.” This training will have to be reported every three years, and the certificate will follow the worker, and not stay with the establishment.

Part of the coursework will require servers to understand:

  •  The social impact of alcohol
  • The Impact of alcohol on the body
  • State Laws and regulations relating to alcoholic beverage control
    Intervention techniques to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage or intoxicated people
  •  The development of management policies that support prevention of sale of alcohol to underage or intoxicated people.

According to Lorena Gonzalez “We know that drunk driving ruins lives. It kills far too many innocent people.” She was also impressed by one of the classmates of these five students. Two died in the accident, three more were seriously injured. She went to intern at her office and her goal was to do something about it. Out of those efforts came this bill.

Nicole Herrick

Nicole Herrick is that classmate of Cornwell and Baldock and after their death, she interned in Sacramento at the office of Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez. One of her goals was to help prevent another tragedy such as this one.

Herrick told Media, “last May we lost two fantastic medical students at the hands of a drunk driver.” She added, “Ann was an accomplished scientist with years of research and numerous publications.” While Cornwall was about to spend a year abroad working with malnourished children in Malawi.

Herrick added, “At the last bar the driver was at, there was an effort to stop him from getting into the car. But despite their best efforts the driver got into the car.” From there he got into the 163 the wrong way and proceeded to crash, killing two people.

This is where AB 2121 comes in. “Proper training for servers on how to recognize when someone is too intoxicated and safely intervene when they try to get into the car could have saved the lives of Ann and Madison.”

Herrick went to emphasize that this is not a unique story. Two other USCD students died last December in a frontal crash, with a drunk driver, going the wrong way on the I-5. They were among the 1000 Californians that die every year, on average, due to drunk driving incidents. In her, and other people’s minds, this is a public health crisis.

William Tseng, MD

Doctor William Tseng, Vice President of the San Diego Medical Society not only applauded these young students for getting involved, and doing something positive to prevent other tragedies. He also said: “Saving lives is the fundamental reason we all set up to become physicians.” He thanked Assembly Member Gonzalez and added, “AB 2121 will increase the safety of those here in San Diego, and across the state of California.”

Brian Marvel

Brian Marvel, President of the San Diego Police Officers Association said that this will make the job of keeping drunks easier. It is best that people do not get behind the wheel to begin with. He said that the POA was behind this effort, and he could not think of any law enforcement group that would oppose it.

This bill is also supported by the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.



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