Every month, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking looks at responsible drinking measures around the world

Every month, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking looks at responsible drinking measures around the world

Once a month, the drinks industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which covers alcohol policies worldwide, looks at what's going on in-market to promote a more responsible role for alcohol in society.

  • Australia - Youth no longer deadliest drivers in New South Wales

The New South Wales (NSW) Center for Road Safety has published statistics indicating that 30- to 49-year-old males have overtaken 17- to 25-year-olds as the demographic most likely to be involved in fatal alcohol-related road traffic crashes. Center executive director Bernard Carlson commented that older male drivers are convinced that "no matter what the circumstances are, they would be able to avoid a crash," speculating that stricter licensing procedures imposed on younger motorists could have resulted in a shift of risky driving behaviours from 17- to 25-year-olds. Around 30% of 30- to 49-year-old male traffic fatalities and 26% of 17- to 25-year-old motorists were involved in alcohol-related crashes, compared to 17% of all traffic fatalities in NSW.

  • Taiwan - Government may require drink-drivers to visit morgue

Taipei City Council has submitted a proposal to require recidivist drink-driving offenders to work at the city's morgues cleaning corpses, with the intention of deterring drink-driving. About 108,000 drink-driving offenders were charged nation-wide in 2015, 16% of whom were repeat offenders, according to Government of Taiwan statistics. The Mortuary Services Office (MSO) rejected the council's proposal on the grounds that allowing members of the public to view the corpses would be disrespectful to the families of the dead. A spokesperson conceded that offenders could be allowed to fulfill their community service requirements by cleaning parts of the morgue that are not off-limits to members of the public.

  • India - Police publish results of Bihar's first year of prohibition

Law enforcement officials in the Indian state of Bihar have seized 514,639 litres of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) distilled spirits, 11,371 literers of beer, and 310,292 litres of home-made alcohol, following the state's introduction of prohibition on beverage alcohol consumption in April last year. The state Excise & Prohibition Department also reported that 44,594 people have been arrested for violating the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, following coordinated raids by the department and Bihar State Police. Although there is no legislation banning the sale and consumption of the fermented palm tree juice toddy, the state government also imposed sales restrictions on the beverage in 2016, with officials seizing 10,217 litres of toddy since the prohibition legislation was enacted.

  • European Union - EU passes beer stein decree

A Federal Ministry of Economics directive has stated that traditional stoneware beer steins must have the words "not for foaming beer" printed at the base of the mug. An EU directive introduced in 2015 prohibited servers from pouring beer directly into opaque containers, meaning that draught beer consumed from stoneware containers must first be poured into a clear, glass "control" container so that customers can visually ascertain the volume served.

  • Mexico - Unrecorded alcohol sales decrease

Euromonitor International has published its second 'Analysis of the informal market for distilled spirits in Mexico' report, finding that unrecorded alcohol accounts for as much as 36% of distilled spirits sold and consumed nation-wide, a drop of 7% between 2013 and 2015. Unrecorded alcohol currently has an equivalent market share of approximately MXN19.4bn (US$1.05bn), representing a loss of MXN1.3m in revenues from the Special Tax on Production & Services. The Commission for the Wine & Distilled Spirits Industry (CIVyL) has been working to reduce the number of alcohol producers evading taxes in the country. A CIVyL spokesperson asserted that one of its greatest achievements "has been the signing of agreements of collaboration with different institutions of government," and Euromonitor International researchers also found that formal spirits sales had increased by MXN8.1bn since its previous study was published.

  • Ukraine - "Alcohol" signs removed

Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovy has ordered the forcible removal of all signs in the city that contain the word 'alcohol', telling a recent meeting of the signage regulator KP Administrative & Technical Control that there were "many signs and city lights" with the word, despite a longstanding ban on its use. A recent investigation found 113 signs in the city that contained the word "alcohol," whose owners refused to comply with the prohibition.

  • Ireland - Police exaggerating road safety success

An Garda Siochána has announced that the number of breath tests conducted by Gardaí officers has been highly exaggerated for some years, with only 1,058,157 of breath tests conducted between 2012 and 2015 compared to a previously stated 1,999,369. Independent supervisory body The Policing Authority recently raised concerns over the discrepancy in the records of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS), which calibrates testing devices for the police force, asserting that the findings raised "serious questions of integrity" for the force and were a sign of "deep cultural problems within the Garda service." The Irish Times reports that the force was under significant political pressure during this period to reduce drink-driving.

  • The US - Utah lowers BAC limit

Governor of Utah Gary Herbert has signed controversial legislation that will reduce the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Utah from 0.8 mg/ml to 0.5 mg/ml, taking effect at the end of this year. Herbert said he decided to sign 'HB 155' after extensive research and discussion with multiple stakeholders, adding that he would call a special session later this year "to address the unintended and collateral consequences" of the bill. Herbert also said he doesn't "believe the legislation is finished", asserting that the state Government will "still need more thorough consideration on how this new standard is applied". The enactment of the legislation could be delayed, Herbert noted, potentially until other states adopted similar regulations. Utah had previously been the first state to reduce its legal BAC limit from 1.0 mg/ml to 0.8 mg/ml.

  • Democratic Republic of Congo – Government considers temporary alcohol ban

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is considering the introduction of a temporary prohibition on the importation of alcohol and non-alcohol beverages packaged in cans, boxes, and plastic sachets for a six-month period. A government source confirmed that the proposal has been reviewed by ministers and has been delegated to the Commission of Economy, Finance & Development (ECOFIRE) for additional review before officials reach a final decision on the implementation of the ban. The source asserted that the ban on alcohol imports would help protect local producers who currently face unfair competition. Local reports say the Tariff Commission ruled in favour of a ban on imported beer, soft drinks and drinking water from neighbouring countries in September last year.

  • Lithuania – Government approves alcohol regulations

The Government of Lithuania has approved legislative amendments drafted by the Ministry of Health (SAM) that would increase the legal purchase age from 18 to 20 years old, prohibit alcohol advertising and restrict the hours of sale to between 1000 and 2000 on weekdays and Saturdays, and between 1000 and 1500 on Sundays. The SAM also included provisions in the 'Alcohol Control Act' that would designate the percentage of excise revenues allocated to the Government's public health promotion fund as well as penalise distributors who transport or store alcohol in publicly-visible packaging along with people who consume, store or transport alcohol at car dealerships. The Government rejected provisions that would have required retailers to display and sell separately beverages with higher and lower abv's, prohibited sample tastings at exhibitions and fairs, increased alcohol excise duty rates and restricted the sale of alcohol to specialist stores.

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