By: Debbie Tuma

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is launching an attack against underage drinking on Long Island. Yesterday the organization handed out special devices to the owners of bars and nightclubs that will help them detect fake driver’s licenses that teens use to get served in bars. MADD hopes helping to keep teens out of bars will also keep teens from getting behind the wheel after drinking. “We want to arm these businesses with a way they can help stop underage people from purchasing drinks,” said Shirley Simon, executive director of MADD Long Island in Huntington Station. Her group handed out 200 free detectors to businesses serving alcoholic beverages. The detectors to be used when patrons are “proofed” to determine whether they are at least 21 the fake I.

D. detectors are small “retro-reflective flashlights” that immediately expose fraudulent or altered driver’s licenses. Deputy Chief James Garside of the Nassau County police explained that the flashlight reveals circular, luminescent seals embedded in the laminate of official driver’s licenses. “These are not apparent to the naked eye, but they will appear with this flashlight on real licenses,” he said. “They will not show up on fraudulent licenses.

” He said it would be hard for an amateur to duplicate the luminescent seals. “I think the use of these detectors should help reduce the number of drunk driving deaths among teenagers,” said Garside. Garside said these fake I.

D. detectors have been around for several years, but have mostly been used by police officers. “This is a novel idea, donating their use to private businesses,” he said. Garside said the Nassau police are also using other enforcement techniques to stop underage drinking, including the use of undercover agents at places that sell alcohol. Of 194 places selling alcohol in Nassau, so far 52 have sold alcohol to undercover agents showing no proof at all. “People under the age of 21 can have access to alcohol, and this is a serious problem,” said Garside. Marge Lee, president of MADD Long Island, said the fake I.

D. detector program “is particularly important now when young people are home for the holidays and celebrations can end in tragedies.

” She said public education is the key factor to preventing tragedies. The number of teenagers killed annually in alcohol-related crashes nationwide has decreased from 4,133 in 1982 to 1,756 in 1994.

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