Texas Dram Shop Laws Help Prevent Injuries
In Texas, a bar can be held liable if one of its customers causes a wreck and hurts someone. The law imposes liability when the bar serves someone who is obviously intoxicated, and who presents a clear danger to himself or others. The law is a good one, and designed to make bars vigilant when serving alcohol. Across America, a person is killed by a drunk driver every 40 minutes. Most drunk drivers are found to have 2 1/2 times the legal limit of alcohol in their blood. The sad truth shows that Texas leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities.
The lobbyist for the bar and restaurant industry are powerful. They are part of the tort reform platform that seeks to limit liability, and to do away with contingency fee contracts which enable the common man to hire an injury lawyer to sue the negligent bars. The bars would like for the law to only allow suits against the drunken driver, making them immune from suit. They think it is unfair to impose liability on a commercial establishment, when the law protects a social host from liability for serving drinks at a party.
However, laws that allow and encourage suits against irresponsible bars which over serve their paying customer makes the roads safer for all of us. They make millions of dollars from serving alcohol, and should have the incentive to only serve customers who appear to be sober. So, when one hears of efforts by the legislature to impose these restrictions in favor of the powerful liquor and bar industry, remember that they are making the roads more dangerous for all of us.