MADD warns of possible dangers amid ‘to-go’ liquor change

While New Yorkers and restaurant owners largely applauded Gov. Hochul’s ‘to-go’ liquor approval, some are concerned about the ripple effect on safety. 
"We think it's important that while these things are being considered and being passed in different states, it's important to understand that this could have an impact on impaired driving rates,” said Alex Otte, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). 
A report found that the number of alcohol-related deaths from causes like liver disease and accidents was up 25% in 2020 over the previous year, according to the New York Times. 
"What we need to make sure is when these laws are passed the laws that are already in place are still being considered, it's still illegal to have an open container in your vehicle,” said Otte. 
Along with the legalization of to-go cocktails, the governor also stated that she plans to add $2 million to the state's liquor authority budget, to make the permit process more seamless. 
"From a restaurant's perspective they need to be making sure these containers are being sealed, in a way that they're not going to get opened in the car, by also making sure they are as far away from the driver as possible,” said Otte. 
Although the new legislation could benefit restaurants in the city, the New York open container law states that the legal way to transport an open container of alcohol is in a locked trunk. Storage anywhere else in the vehicle could result in a penalty.