Dram Shop Laws
Dram Shop Laws
Dram shop laws are instituted for all places which serve alcoholic beverages including restaurants, taverns and bars. An employee of these establishments may not serve alcohol to minors or those ‘visibly intoxicated’. If the person which consumed the beverage leaves the establishment, gets in an accident or causes bodily harm to another person, the establishment and the server may be held liable for damages. However, this should not be the case. Those who were intoxicated and caused the accident should be the only ones held liable for damages he or she caused to another person.
Too many people take advantage of the legal proponent which allows these places which serve alcohol to be held liable. I would like to remove this proponent and make a revision to Montana’s Dram Shop laws, making it better for servers and consumers alike. In the following I will tell you some positive and negative outcomes if this change ever were to occur. I am going to answer the question of the whether Montana should have the liability clause which puts establishments at risk of being held financially responsible. In order to come to a conclusion, both sides must be heard.
I will begin why we should remove these laws and positive outcomes. Should Montana in fact have liability clauses which enable the tavern or bar to be held liable? The job of a bartender can be a tedious and stressful one. By removing the liability element of the Dram Shop laws, bartenders can focus on their jobs instead of on attempting to recognize the signs of someone who is ‘visibly intoxicated’ (Rumberger: Kirk & Caldwell). This becomes especially difficult on a bustling Saturday evening when the bass of the band is thrumming in your ears and ten different people are calling out, “Bartender! On busy Saturday nights, not only are the bartenders kept busy, but the tills are as well.
Businesses make quite a bit of money on nights like these; however the liability clause can put a damper on the profits of small, local businesses. Part of a bartender’s whole job is to encourage the buying of alcohol, and the drinker should respond by leaving when he or she has noticed they have developed that ‘buzzed’ feeling. The bartender’s job is simple; tend the bar and comply with the wishes of your customers. When servers have to cut off drinkers, feelings are often brushed and money lost.
When someone gets particularly offended, physical altercations can often occur, posing a major health safety risk for all those in the bar. With these laws in place, often bartenders and bouncers put their welfare on the line when it comes to removing drunken patrons. When is seemingly too intoxicated to continue drinking, it is the duty of the bartender to refuse any further service to the customer. Even though this is required by law, it can often result in one if not both, of the parties involved to leave with a bump or bruise, if not worse.
When it comes to injuries in public establishments, people these days seem to get all together ‘sue-happy. ’ Without these laws putting liability on establishments which took no part in the maiming of others, the person who actually committed the offence will be the only one who can be held responsible. There are many cases which someone is offended, injured or leaves and commits another crime which can then be financially supported by the small business. Now that I have gone over the positives, I will now explain the negative effects of the removal of this element of the Dram Shop laws.
We all know drunk driving is an all too common occurrence in the United States. Most people probably don’t know that a studies conducted have shown that nearly 80 million trips a year are made with a driver having consumed some amount of alcohol (Major Mark Willingham). This means that all establishments must do their part in making these numbers go down. By keeping these laws, bartenders will continue to be pressured to keep people better under-control in bars and taverns.
Bartenders are specially trained to recognize the signs of people when they are beginning to show signs of intoxication and how to handle the following situations. Without these laws, employees will lose the proper training by employers with the lack of enforcement (CADCA). These guidelines can help to quickly clear up situations which pose a threat to the server or those also in the bar. As an establishment which serves alcohol, taverns and bars have an obligation to their customers to perform all aspects of proper service (expertpages. om). When someone comes into a place to be served alcohol, bartenders should be able to aid in helping for these customers get home by cutting them off. They are also supposed to provide any service which is asked, usually complied with a cheery demeanor. All these aspects create the foundation for proper service in these establishments. Without the liability element of the Dram shop laws, there is an element of pressure which can result in the loss of proper service.
The blatant cause for most terms of Dram shop laws is simple; reduce harmful alcohol consumption and all accidents which would be classified as alcohol-related (whatworksforhealth. com). With all the fine-toothed combed sections of these laws, the ideal set-up has been instituted in communities in order to control these situations. With the concept of liability, these laws do not only hold the person who committed the crime or offence, but can help to keep bars and taverns in check and doing their jobs.
Some terms that must be corrected before this law becomes valid are the concept of ‘visual intoxication. ’ There is no clear definition by which you can define someone as visibly drunk, some people are just morons. Some people act more or less drunk than they are. The legal drinking age of 21 must also be clearly stated. I still believe that the liability aspects of Dram Shop laws should be removed. Bartenders keep clients in line as much as possible, but should not suffer blame and loss of business in order to make an educated guess at the intoxicated state of another person.
Too many people have taken advantage of these small businesses and there needs to be only one person, the one truly responsible, to be held liable. When these establishments get slam-jammed busy, there is no way for one or two people to properly assess the mental state of someone, especially a stranger. Enough pressure is applied to these businesses in economic times like those we are in. we should take away the possibility that someone could take business, money and good name of any bar or tavern.