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Consalvo: City Should Work with Valets to Curb Drunken Driving

Valets should be given more training, power, Consalvo said.

City Councilor Robert Consalvo wants valets to truly become “the last line of defense” when it comes to relevant instances of drunken driving in Boston.

The District 5 councilor said at Wednesday’s Boston City Council meeting that he wants the city to work with valet companies to implement a plan that would better train valets to identify drunk drivers and give them the power to withhold a suspected drunk driver’s keys and vehicle for a designated period of time.

“The ultimate goal is not to be punitive,” Consalvo told his fellow councilors, “ … it’s to keep drunk drivers off the road.”

Consalvo’s proposal will go on to the council’s Committee on Public Safety. Consalvo said he’s not trying to vilify Boston’s valets now, he just saw an opportunity to improve the situation.

Under Consalvo’s proposal, if a disagreement arises between a valet and a customer suspected of wanting to drive drunk, Boston Police could be called to administer a field sobriety test. If the customer fails the test, he or she would not be punished, Consalvo said, other than not being able to access his or her vehicle for the period of time.

Consalvo also suggested that valets could be required to become Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) certified, like bartenders.

Councilor Felix G. Arroyo spoke in strong support of Consalvo’s general idea, as did councilors Matt O’Malley and Ayanna Pressley.

“I would love the city of Boston to be the city with the least drunken driving instances in the country,” Arroyo, an at-large councilor, said.

Arroyo said Consalvo’s proposal hit close to home for him, as, when he was a teenager, his sister’s boyfriend was killed by a drunk driver on the Jamaicaway.

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