Friday, January 13, 2006

There are several bars and clubs around Austin under investigation accused of contributing to DWI.

Element is one bar on a list of about 20 that have Austin Police stepping up enforcement, and the TABC is working undercover.
There's no question about it. Law enforcement want to stop drunk drivers.
Austin Police have started asking a specific question to every DWI suspect pulled over.
"The question I believe is where were you drinking or where did you have your last drink," Lt. Robert Saenz with TABC said.
APD made a list of the bars that kept popping up as the answer.
They shared it with the TABC.
These are the top bars and the number of times named by DWI suspects in the six-month investigation by APD and TABC.
1. Dallas Night Club -- 45
2. Sherlock's Pub -- 31
3. Cool River -- 31
4. Lucky Lounge -- 20
5. Element Nightclub -- 18
6. Chuggin' Monkey -- 15
7. Yellow Rose -- 14
8. Rain -- 13
9. Rodeo Night Club -- 13
10. Dizzy Rooster -- 13
11. The Library -- 13
12. Oslo -- 13
13. Oilcan Harry's -- 13
"It allows us to focus our troops in more specific areas," Saenz said.
The latest top five bars DWI suspects say served their last drink are Dallas Nightclub, Sherlocks, Cool River, Lucky Lounge and Element.
The list doesn't sit well with some bar owners.
"Even though you were there last, you may not have become intoxicated there," Sixth Street bar owner Bob Woody said.
Austin Police are stepping up patrol in those areas. Each bar is under investigation by the TABC.
"The top five locations we go into them weekly," Saenz said.
Undercover agents check if bartenders are serving to already intoxicated people.
Those bartenders face fines, could be arrested and if the bar doesn't help bring the numbers down, it could be shut down.
Bob Woody owns 15 bars downtown. None of them are on the crackdown list, but he says something is wrong about focusing on bartenders to curb DWI's.
"It does frustrate me if you took this guy and you put him in the car, he'd be drunk. But if you got him the club what applies to him being drunk or over served? You see, that's a grey area," Woody said.
Woody says he is even installing cameras in his bars as a form of defense if his bartenders are accused of over serving.