The Washington State Liquor Control Board is considering adopting a new rule (.pdf here) that would prohibit anyone without a horizontal ID from buying booze, ostensibly to keep minors from accessing alcohol. However, as the rule is currently proposed, it would also prevent adults from being served alcohol on their 21st birthdays, or buying alcohol at all, until they take a trip to the DMV and obtain a new driver's license.
Vertical, or portrait-style, driver's licenses are standard issue for anyone under the age of 21 in Washington and many states. The new rule would require a horizontal driver's license for purchasing liquor—period. Which means that even if you're 21, if you don't have a horizontal driver's license, you won't be served in bars and restaurants, or be able to buy your own liquor.
(Does anyone besides me admire the WSLCB for its unapologetic severity? I half expect them to start extracting promises from every licensed driver that should they incur a DUI, they will be penalized one pound of flesh.)
"This rule came percolating up from the retail sector," explains WSLCB spokesman Brian Smith. "A lot of places, especially restaurants, already don't accept vertical IDs." He admits the rule is rather severe as it is currently written, but says the WSLCB is seeking public comment on it now through April 28th. If it's an issue for the public, he says, "we should work in a grace period where it would not be effective, so there would be time for people to go out and get a horizontal ID."
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