AUSTIN — Agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will visit hundreds of alcohol retailers — such as bars, restaurants, and stores — as part of a statewide operation to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors in popular spring break locations.
The annual underage compliance operations during the month of March are part of an ongoing effort to empower businesses to prevent illegal alcohol sales, including sales to intoxicated persons and customers under the age of 21. According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, underage drivers accounted for 575 alcohol-related crashes in 2021, including 66 fatal crashes.
“The vast majority of underage alcohol-related accidents and fatalities can be prevented simply by cutting off the source of alcohol to the minors,” TABC Executive Director Thomas Graham said. “Our primary goal during this operation is to work with retailers to ensure they have the practices and policies in place to prevent illegal alcohol sales. In the relatively few cases where we observe a violation, we’ll hold those businesses accountable and get them back into compliance.”
Throughout the spring break operation, TABC agents will conduct undercover and open inspections to identify retailers selling alcohol to minors. Businesses found in violation could face a fine or a temporary suspension of their liquor license, while employees who break the law could face a misdemeanor criminal charge.
TABC has been offering training and educational resources for retailers to help their employees prepare for the busy spring break season, including in-person sessions such as a seminar held with South Padre Island and Port Isabel merchants in February.
“We want alcohol retailers across the state to realize that this period before spring break is the best time to prepare your staff for the busy season ahead,” Graham said. “Train your staff to recognize the signs of a fake ID, as well as the best ways to decline a sale if you think it would break the law. Ultimately, alcohol retailers are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing injury or loss of life.”