The Dram Shop Act: Making Irresponsible Hosts and Business Establishments Equally Accountable for Alcohol-related Accidents, Injuries and Deaths
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records show that in 2013, more than 1.1 million alcohol-impaired drivers were arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). During the previous year, a study revealed that the number of those who drove while under the influence of alcohol was 29.1 million. Drunk driving is a major in the U.S. and in all the other parts of the world. This is despite the continuous education and warnings to drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Thus, since the early part of the 1900s up to this time, many people drive while impaired and a lot of those who do this cause accidents where they injure or kill not only innocent people on the road (other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists) but also themselves.
Stricter anti-drunk driving laws today do not just require apprehension of adult drivers (aged 21 years old or above) whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08% or above, but also of teen drivers (those below 21 years old) if any alcohol is ever traced in their blood or breath.
Once a driver reaches the legal limit of consumption, critical motor functions become impaired and the driver is thus unable to safely operate his/her vehicle to the best of his or her abilities. Thus, besides arresting alcohol-impaired drivers themselves, business establishments and certain individuals can now be held answerable too for certain accidents that are alcohol-related. The legal responsibility of business establishments and certain individuals is rooted on the stipulations of the Dram Shop Act. According to the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, the Dram Shop Act is a law which can make a host or a business establishment (including a restaurant, a bar, or a tavern where alcoholic drinks are sold) accountable for any injuries or damages an intoxicated person causes, but only if such host or establishment still offers or sells alcoholic drinks to such person who is already intoxicated. Civil liability extends to anyone the intoxicated person injures or kills.
Currently, the states of Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and
Virginia do not have dram shop liability.
To learn more about car accidents, click here.