Just wondering your thoughts on this! Drinking and Driving...

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by HollySSmith, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. HollySSmith

    HollySSmith Mommy and a bit pregnant!

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    Well where I live (Northern Ontario, Canada) drinking and driving is a common practice of our locals. This past summer three young teens (2-15yrs, 1-16yrs) were killed when getting off the bus as a 26yr old impaired driver ran them down, fled the scene and crashed into a house. Our city is not very large (150 000 people or so). The establishment that served him alcohol to the point of intoxication was shut down by the police. Another similar event occurred last year with the death of 17 yr girl resulting.
    My question to you is, do you feel an establishment that serves alcohol to minors (our legal age is 19yrs) or serves an individual to the point of intoxication should be held liable for injuries or deaths that occurred as a result?
    Mostly I am curious what other people in the world think.

    Personally, I think they should be responsible. The need to make money should not supercede public safety or allow them to be above the law as stated by the liquor license. Many locals disagree....what do you think?
     
  2. Bam

    Bam 3rd Trimester - #1

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    Hell yeah they should be held accountable. They are accessories to vehicular manslaughter. I bartended for 4 years and as part of my being able to bartend, I had to take state classes on liquor laws so I could have a license to serve alcohol. It's my responsibility as the purveyor of adult beverages to make sure I'm not contributing to any illegal activity, whether it be serving a minor or allowing a drunk to operate a motor vehicle. That's what they make taxis and telephones for.

    Not to mention, I don't know how it is in Canada but in the state of TN it's illegal to sell to anyone that is visibly intoxicated, known to drink to excess, known to be an abuser of narcotics or illegal drugs or anyone that is known to be insane/mentally ill. This means, if you serve someone 2 drinks and you can visibly tell they are becoming intoxicated then it is illegal to sell them a 3rd drink. So yes, the person that served alcohol in such a manner should be punished for breaking the law (in this case, serving minors who are obviously intoxicated).

    As for the establishment, it is their responsibility to make sure their employees know the laws and follow them accordingly so my opinion still stands. Yes, they should ALSO be held responsible in some manner. If I were to sell to a minor then I would fully expect to not only be properly punished/fined/lose my license but I also expect my employer to face some sort of fine/etc. for permitting me to commit such a crime.
     
  3. polo_princess

    polo_princess ♥ Brookes Mummy ♥

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    In the UK you get pretty hefty fines if your caught serving alcohol to minors, i know when i used to work in clubs it was an £80 fine out of your own pocket, and then a fine for the club also.
     
  4. jms895

    jms895 Well-Known Member

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    I think at age 15 and 16 you know what you are doing, you know what is right and wrong and so THEY are responsible!! xx
     
  5. tasha41

    tasha41 Mum & Dad + 1

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    Yes they should absolutely be held accountable. It's their JOB to ask for ID, their JOB to not serve people who are intoxicated. Personally I think Smart Serve should be mandatory for all servers-- bartenders, waiters, etc.

    At 15/16 you know what you're doing but you're still of the teenage mindset that "you're invincible".. and many people believe "oh it won't happen to me". When you're young you're more concerned with having a good time than with the potential consequences. People think it's "just alcohol", it's legal, it's safe.
     
  6. HollySSmith

    HollySSmith Mommy and a bit pregnant!

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    Thank you so much for the replies!
    I totally agree with you guys, I guess I found it shocking that many people feel that it is unfair to pursue legal action against the establishment as it limits their ability to make money (at least that is what their argument is).
    BAM - yes it is illegal to serve alcohol to someone who is intoxicated in Canada. This past summer they even lowered the legal limit to .05 for driving. The laws are fairly strict (though there is always room for improvement) but it doesnt stop people from driving drunk. Its sad because in both cases it was teenagers who died and in neither case were they the driver. In fact, with case where the three died all they were guilty of was taking the bus to get home!
     
  7. Sarahkka

    Sarahkka Mama to Two Fine Boys!

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    Yes, I agree with the the establishment and server having a joint legal responsibility to abide by Smartserve policies. And I emphasize the term "joint".
    Most of the places I have worked were very supportive of serving staff, but I have heard of a few that put huge pressure on the server to sell, no matter what state the customer was in. That wouldn't be a fun position to be in.
     
  8. DizzyMoo

    DizzyMoo Guest

    Well if they know its a minor yes, if they don't then no. A lot of teens look old enough to drink & that is down to each individual bar staff as to whether they think that person looks of legal age. If the bar staff feel that person looks of legal age then i don't think they should be responsible, If they are unsure & serve without checking i.d then yes they are responsible, Or if they are fully aware it is a minor again yes fully responsible.

    With regards to the driving thing, I don't fully agree the establishment should be responsible, Establishments don't know who is going to get into a car afterwards!

    Far as i know pubs have to refuse to serve people who are severely intoxicated anyway.. I used to be a bar maid & as far as i know the pubs can get done if they continue to serve severely intoxicated people as we used to refuse, But if a person gets in to a car afterwards no i'm sorry how can that be the establishments fault?
    The blame is the person who drives end of imo.
     
  9. Linzi

    Linzi Prodest mummy ever

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    As much as I hate drink driving, I'm not always sure the establishment should be held responsible. At the end of the day they don't know who's walking out of their pub into a taxi, or behind the wheel of a car. However it is up to them not to serve minors. So Id say if its a minor whos been served and caused an accident, both should absolutely be charged. If its an adult, they should be fully responsioble.

    This is a bit of a touchy subject for me so Ill leave now :(
     
  10. mommyof3co

    mommyof3co Mommy of 4 amazing boys!

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    Ok...I don't think the establishment should be held accountable for making someone drunk. If it's a bar that's their money, that's what they do is serve alcohol to anyone willing to pay (that's legal). Now I do think that there should be some limit, they should be able to cut someone off. But I know if I want to go out and drink with my girls one night (I don't drink, but if I wanted to) and I wanted to get shit faced drunk I have that right. Now I'm not stupid enough to go drive after that but if I were it's not the place that served me's fault...it's MINE. I do think they should be fined, and potentionally shut down if they serve to minors though.
     
  11. Tiff

    Tiff LIKE A BOSS

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    There was a big lawsuit here as a woman got served past the point of intoxication and she ended up getting into an accident (she was drinking at a company christmas party). Anyways, she tried to sue the establishment [I think, it was either that or the employer] for allowing her to get that drunk, and allowing her to drive home.

    At first the courts agreed with her (saying that she shouldn't have been served that much) but then it got overturned, not sure if it was the Supreme Court of Canada but she was charged in the end.

    Anyways, long story short I think that it is too much to place on the bartenders to make sure that people don't get drunk. Not everyone is a sloppy drunk, and some people can hold their alcohol better than others. I think the individual who is drinking should be held responsible.

    Then again, I am one of those people who don't buy the "...but I was drunk!!!" excuse either.

    I'm from North Bay and I know exactly what you are talking about!
     
  12. HollySSmith

    HollySSmith Mommy and a bit pregnant!

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    Ah from good ol' North Bay! I was wondering if I was the only northerner on here! lol

    Well the serving minors part came from the second case where the 17yr girl died. She was served alcohol along with her 26 yr old bf. Bf was severely intoxicated (If your from NB then you probably heard this story), got into a fight and was kicked out where he got into his car (with many witnesses) drove down RR 35 crashed the car several times until it flipped over. The girl died (but also not wearing a seatbelt). Just thought it was strange that with the three teens that died the establishment was shut down (I believe it still is) but the one in Lively has not had any fines (or charges etc) raised against them though the establishment had a larger role in this case.

    Thanks for all your opinions! I think its great to get different views on this issue from across the globe!
     
  13. Lil_Baby_Boo

    Lil_Baby_Boo Well-Known Member

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    We were in the US for a few months and were completely shocked as one night we had a BBQ and there was lots of drinkg games etc...........one of the people we invited went to get in her car to drink to a club :growlmad: we were like 'erm, noooo' she said she and most people did drink and drive and it was & I quote 'A Normal night out'. Anyway - we took her keys off her and made told her we'd walk to the club which was only 15 mins away anyway :dohh:

    About a week later we'd all gone to a bar for my OH's birthday and spent the night drinking cocktails, one of the men (quite a respectable man) who my OH worked with said he'd drop us back at our house. We all got out the car one of the girls goes 'can't believe how much he's drunk!!' I had just assumed the way he was presented and his job etc he hadn't been drinking :dohh:

    I wouldn't dream of getting in a car knowing I'd had too much!!

    I wouldn't blame the establishment, although, once someone is stupid drunk where they can't walk straight / stand up etc they shouldn't be served in bars/clubs and should be asked to leave. If its buying alchohol from a shop then nobody should be searved when they were even just a little tipsy!

    It seemed to me in the US that they were very good at ID checking in bars, restaurants, shops etc - just the drink drive thing was quite disturbing!

    Seems like the opposite here - too many underage but (although just lately noticed lots of asking for ID more) I think we're quite good (compared to other places) when it comes to driving. *still lots more room for improvement tho*

    *Essay Alert :blush:**
     
  14. impatient1

    impatient1 Mommy to 1 Angel & 2 DD

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    I think that if an establishment is caught selling alcohol to minors then yes they should most definately be fined, if there is an accident caused by it then I think they should be held partly responsible. If it is someone of legal age then I don't think the establishment should be held responsible if they cause an accident after leaving said establishment. As an assistant manager in a restaurant I know that we personally do everything we can to make sure people do not get overly intoxicated and that they have a safe way home, but there is only so much we can do to that point. We can call a cab but we can't make them get in it, we can call the police on them if we know what their license plate number is. Truth be told when you go out drinking you should be taking responsibility for your own actions and not drinking and driving. If a doctor/pharmacy gave someone a medication that says they shouldn't be driving and have informed them, would you sue the doctor/pharmacy if they got into an accident? Most likely the thought wouldn't even cross your mind. I think that the problem with today's society is that we are not always held accountable for our own actions. That's just my opinion tho.
     
  15. JennTheMomma

    JennTheMomma Mommy of 1 & Expecting #2

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    Hmmm.... yes and no. I think they should get their liquor license taken away and have a big fine,but I don't think they should be charged with manslaughter or anything like that. That is still the person's responsability who did it. Our legal age here is 21 years old, and bars are very strict on that. We also have a law for serving only so many drinks and the workers take classes to identify when someone is too drunk. They also call cabs and you get the cab ride for free.
     
  16. PeanutBean

    PeanutBean Mumma to Byron & Indigo

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    I certainly think they should have some accountability when they are making a profit from damaging people's health, damaging the local society and potentially causing someone else injury or worse as a consequence. If the drinks were free it would be a different matter.

    I find it interesting for those who think the establishment serving alcohol has no responsibility at all. How do you feel about people dealing drugs? Do you think they ahve any accountability for those who get hooked on drugs?
     
  17. Seraphim

    Seraphim Amazing Baby Girl

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    I'm a bit confused.

    I understand the legal age limit of 19, and I understand the question about holding an establishment responsible for serving alcohol to underage drinkers - but I don't understand how it fits with these deaths??

    I think serving alcohol to a minor should be an independent offence regardless of outcome, good, bad or indifferent.

    Is drink driving illegal there?

    I do believe if you are responsible enough to be allowed a driving licence, you are responsible enough to decide when you are fit to drive. Be that through alcohol, lack of sleep or medical conditions.

    I'm not sure you can link the two issues.
     
  18. Waiting4Bump

    Waiting4Bump Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I read it as 3 teenagers who were getting off a bus, were run over by a 26 year old drunk driver..In that case, the establishment hasn't served any body underage.

    I worked in a pub for years, & have lived in them as well, and I know for a fact, you can't know how everyone in the pub got to the pub, & how they plan on getting home. You can only refuse to serve someone a drink if they are already very drunk.

    So I don't think anyone has done anything wrong apart from the man himself, who knew he was over the limit, so to speak, & that he could potentially kill people.
     
  19. HollySSmith

    HollySSmith Mommy and a bit pregnant!

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    Sorry didnt explain it well enough! Well the issue with the three dead teens was that they continued to serve alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated. The bartender watched him get in the car and drive off (now the dish washer and bouncer realized this was wrong and called the police and chased after him - witnessing the crime, BUT the bartender did not cut him off at any point and watched him stumble out into the parking lot without so much as a second glance). I'm more wondering if an establishment has any responsibility in drinking and driving. My community is divided on whether these bars should be held responsible. Ie: A person who wants to drink should be allowed to consume as much alcohol as desired without interference or liability on the bar should something happen to this person or someone else as a result of being drunk.
    I find it weird because a lot of this is already law and so many people seem to A) not understand it B) think that it should be the individuals choice to engage in these activites C) That the laws stop bars from making the money that they should be.

    Make any sense?
    It just really upset me that three innocent kids are dead (AND they died on father's day) and people are still making excuses! I just never realized how money means more to some people than lives....
     
  20. Seraphim

    Seraphim Amazing Baby Girl

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    Thanks, I think I'm with you now :)

    I'm not sure about Canada, but I've experienced the approach to drunkeness in a bar in America (I'm guessing it won't extend to ALL bars but...) In the UK it's not an offence to be drunk - so that's the culture I've grown up with. It is an offence to be drunk and disorderly - but that is still an offence levied against the individual/drinker.

    So (as far as I'm aware at least), a bartender can serve you happily, and you can happily be drunk, way beyond the alcohol limit for driving, and the bartender has done nothing wrong. Neither is it their responsibility to check whether you intend to drive or not. Which is probably why having the establishment/tender be liable if you cause death by drunk driving seems slightly strange to me personally.

    I see arguments for both parts, but I don't think you can absolve an individual of responsibility for their actions, drunk or not. Similarly ignorance is no defense in law.
     

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