Drivers Should Be Liable For Being Drunk

Aug 13, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Quad City Times reports restaurant and bar owners are unhappy about a rate
hike in their dram-shop insurance.

The coverage offers protection for establishments sued for selling alcohol
to drivers later involved in automobile accidents.

Businesses holding state liquor licenses may see the cost of their policies
increase up to five times beginning on September 1. 

Besides objections to the additional cost burden it puts on business, Doni
DeNucci, president and chief executive officer for the Iowa Hospitality Association,
is lobbying for changes in the current dram-shop coverage because, “They (patrons)
don’t even really have to prove that they were in our establishments. It’s almost
like the burden is on us to prove they weren’t there.”

Moderator’s Comment: Should restaurants, bars and other
businesses serving alcoholic beverages be responsible for patrons/customers
who later become involved in car accidents?

There is certainly an ethical case to be made when a bartender
continues to give a clearly inebriated person drinks. But, as legitimate as
that ethical point is, the ultimate responsibility is being shifted from where
it belongs — with the drinker — to the business selling the alcohol.

Anderson – Moderator

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