Dram Shop Expert Witness On Improving Public Safety Part 2

In Dram Shop Laws – Improving Public Safety, dram shop expert witness Maj. Mark Willingham of Alcohol Solutions, LLC, writes:

The business model under which the alcoholic beverage industry operates can be antithetical to the elements of responsible retailing. In many cases tips; a significant part of servers’ income, come from “good service” which often equates to heavy pours of alcohol, frequent replenishment, and a wink and a nod at increasing intoxication levels. Beverage retailers often utilize questionable promotions, two for one or all you can drink specials, for example, to gain a competitive advantage or to maintain marketing parity with other retailers. The choices bar owners and bartenders make in over-serving their guests often eliminate the choices their guests might have in moderating their drinking behavior.

No one will argue that the impaired driver in an alcohol related crash is blameless. The decision to have the first, second or perhaps the third drink rests solely with the drinker. At a certain point, however, the drinker loses his or her ability to make rational decisions about further alcohol consumption. The drinker’s ability to engage in appropriate behavior and make rational decisions is diminished. It is a truism worthy of a scientific designation; the more alcohol one consumes, the lower one’s ability to assess their own intoxication and assess their own ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This most certainly creates a “Catch 22” logic model in which the person the retailer often believes responsible for determining whether their faculties are impaired becomes more and more impaired with each drink the retailer serves.