Personal accountability can be hard to come by in today’s modern society. Personal accountability can become even scarcer after people have had a few drinks. Recent studies have shown that people are less likely to be concerned with drinking and driving after an evening of drinking. People who have had a few too many drinks suffer impairment in their decision making abilities which can lead to an intoxicated driver getting behind the wheel of a car. This is a decision that endangers not only the driver, but other innocent drivers, passengers and pedestrians. If intoxicated drivers leave a bar and get into an accident, who could have stopped it? Who is responsible for drunk drivers?
Many people don’t realize that it’s not just the driver who can be held responsible for their drunk driving. Bars and even hosts of parties can be held responsible for the actions of patrons or guests who are under the influence. Dram shop liability laws state that people who serve alcohol are responsible for their guests, not only while they remain in their company, but also after they leave. This means that legal action can be taken against a person who has served alcohol to someone who gets into a fight or an accident while under the influence. It is important to realize that as a business owner or even a party host you may be held accountable for the actions of others.
Dram shop liability laws are state laws that detail who is responsible for drunk drivers. These laws vary slightly depending on your geographical location. The penalties associated with these laws can also vary slightly depending on the state you live in. 43 states currently have dram shop liability laws in place to help increase accountability for people who drive under the influence. So while some states, such as Virginia and Maryland, do not have dram shop liability laws, most states do.
States that have dram shop liability laws can hold people accountable for a host of behaviors such as serving to minors, known alcoholics, or people who have clearly already had too much to drink. These laws have been proven to help reduce the number of DUIs in states that impose them. These laws also lead to lower rates of accidents and injuries as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. These laws promote an in increased accountability for the actions of people under the influence of alcohol.
Who is responsible for drunk drivers? Anyone who can prevent drunk driving. Anyone who can prevent an intoxicated person from getting behind the wheel of a car is responsible for doing so. If you work at or own a bar it is your responsibility to look out for the wellbeing of your patrons. If you are a host it is your responsibility to make sure your guests drink responsibly and make it home safely. Even if you are just a friend, calling a cab or arranging for a designated driver to take people home can make a huge difference. It is the responsibility of someone who is drinking to monitor their drinking and make responsible decisions, but by widening the accountability for drunk drivers we help to promote safer roads and a safer society.