Thursday, July 16, 2015

Happy Hour Returns To Illinois. Will The Streets Be Less Safe For Bicyclists?

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law new legislation that will return "Happy Hour" to Illinois. Prior to this change, bars and restaurants were prohibited from selling alcohol at a discount during a short time frame. "Happy Hour" was previously outlawed because of concerns that it promoted a "drink as much as you can while you can" mentality during the short time frame that then put intoxicated motorists on the roads in Illinois. 

The new law basically provides a few changes:
  • Bars and restaurants may advertise "Happy Hours" for up to four hours a day or 15 hours a week;
  • The bars and restaurants must post the "Happy Hour" specials a week in advance to prohibit "flash specials" to get patrons already in the establishment to drink more;
  • The "Happy Hour" can't go past 10 p.m.;
  • The "Happy Hour" can't promote "2 For 1" drinks specials or give away booze; 
  • They also can't do "all you can drink" specials for a fixed price unless it is done as a private party. 
As an attorney who handles wrongful death cases involving drunk drivers and seeing first hand the toll these crimes take on families, we know the harm that comes from intoxicated motorists on the roadways. In 2013 Chicago saw the deaths of Hector Avalos and Bobby Cann in incidents where the drivers involved were allegedly intoxicated. (Disclaimer: Keating Law Offices represents the Estate of Hector Avalos in the civil case against the alleged drunk driver, his employer, and the establishment where he was allegedly drinking prior to the collision). In both of those cases, the drivers were allegedly drinking at establishments that sold alcohol immediately prior to the fatal collisions. 

The concern, of course, is that the idea of a "time limit" would create a mindset in people who have already had too many drinks to "drink as much as they can" while they can get a deal. Proponents of this legislation argue that this change helps Illinois remain competitive with tourism and helps businesses expand their marketing opportunities. But the risk on the opposite of more drinking causes great concern for vulnerable users of the roadway like bicyclists and pedestrians.

Here is a direct link to Senate Bill 398 which outlines all of the changes under Illinois law.

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.