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Servers, drinkers put on notice – Don’t overdo it in New Year’s celebrations

<i></i><br/>It's the time of year when people enjoy alcoholic beverages at bars and breweries
Lawrence, Nakia

It's the time of year when people enjoy alcoholic beverages at bars and breweries

By Rex Hodge

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    WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — It’s the time of year when people enjoy alcoholic beverages at bars and breweries, so the Western North Carolina Regional DWI Taskforce is reminding folks to be careful and servers to be aware of their liability.

“We’ve got a good group of people, employee-wise,” said Monty Bumbernick, general manager at Frog Level Brewery in Waynesville.

He said his staff is well-trained at serving craft beers.

Ellen Pitt, who heads up the local DWI task force, hopes everyone will be safe.

“Even if they’re not held criminally accountable, they may be held civilly accountable,” Pitt said of any server or establishment that might serve too much alcohol to patrons.

She said a North Carolina law change in 2005 allows alcohol by volume percentage in beers to more than double … something some patrons may not be aware of.

“I think it would behoove a server to mention that to a patron,” Pitt said.

Pitt said that’s especially important since knowingly over-serving alcohol could lead to legal action.

“It’s important to understand and remember that what you’re consuming, what you’re going to be liable for is the blood alcohol content in your system,” Haywood County Sheriff Bill Wilkie said.

He said servers need to pay attention to things like patrons who are stumbling.

“The person who is clearly intoxicated does not need additional service,” Wilkie said.

Wilkie and Pitt urge servers to look for additional signs of impairment like glassy eyes and slurred speech.

Having a designated driver or calling a rideshare, a friend or even a police officer for a lift is the safest action for a person who has been drinking to take.

Staying safe and understanding consequences is the message behind the task force’s new logo.

Pitt said people can expect to see that new logo more often in the coming new year.

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