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Lexington Co., South Carolina DUI enforcement: bartenders beware

Police officers in the Lexington County area will begin to increase their enforcement against drunk driving by targeting what they see as a major contributor to the act: drinking establishments. While many bar and restaurant owners may be proactive in keeping their intoxicated patrons off the road, it's not always the case. Because of South Carolina's dram shop liability laws, those who don't could find themselves in serious legal trouble.

Dram shop liability laws allow the victims of drunk driving accidents to not only hold the driver liable, but also the alcohol retailers'. This means that bars and restaurants could be held partially monetarily responsible for any drunk driving accidents that occur as a result of patrons who drive away from the establishment too intoxicated to legally drive. When drunk driving accidents do occur, any monetary compensation due to the victim as a result of a lawsuit could potentially be split between the driver and the alcohol retailer.

While it can be difficult to determine whether or not the alcohol retailer was directly at fault, the Sherriff of Lexington County is determined to let these businesses know that law enforcement is serious about holding them to their liability. The Sherriff has said that he will work with police officers and local courts to shut down businesses in the area that are directly responsible for continuing DUI deaths.

One of the ways in which this increased enforcement will take place is by finding out where any driver under the influence last had an alcoholic beverage. By doing this, police will gather information on institutions that regularly allow intoxicated patrons to drive away.

Source: WISTV, "Crackdown on drunk driving in Lexington Co. begins," Sept. 10, 2012

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