Vermont Bar Coasters May Warn Against Drunken Driving

KILLINGTON, Vt. (AP) Vermont State Police and local restaurant owners want to take their campaign against drunken driving right to where the drinking happens.

Drink coasters that discourage drunken driving and promote designated drivers could be an addition in many bars and restaurants on the mountain soon.

That’s just one strategy a local task force hopes will reduce the number of drunken drivers on area roads.

The 11-member group composed of local merchants, town officials and State Police was formed after business owners complained to the Select Board in December about frequent police stops on the mountain. Killington Road, which connects Route 4 to the Killington Ski Area, has one of the highest concentrations of nightspots in the state.

”This is the first time I’ve ever seen business owners take action to decrease the number of drunk drivers,” said Senior Trooper Albert Abdelnour, who heads the State Police’s regional DUI enforcement team.

Members of the town task force, which held its first meeting recently, have outlined five steps designed to reduce the number of drunken drivers and therefore the number of police needed in the area.

Those ideas include creating short videos with bar owners and police urging people to use the bus or a designated driver. The videos would be shown on bar monitors periodically, including closing time. They could also run on the local public access channel.

Other ideas include hanging posters with similar themes and printing leaflets which could be distributed to lodgers staying at local hotels.

”Task force members have tried to find proactive ways to deal with drunk drivers so that the State Police don’t have to step in as often at the enforcement end,” said Allen Wilson, president of Killington Ski Area and a member of the task force.

While he acknowledged that positive results from the group’s strategies might take time, Wilson said the concept of cooperation between police and business could take hold statewide. Timothy Brockmyer, manager of five restaurants on the mountain and a member of the group, said he had faith in the preventive steps.

”As long as we work together to coordinate everything, I think we’ll see results,” he said.

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