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Drunk Driving and Responsibility

Top court set to rule today on host liability for drunk drivers

Poll #725320 Drunk Driver Liability

Should Hosts Be Responsible To Stop Their Guests Driving Drunk?


Should They Be Held Liable If They Fail To Do So?


I think you've got to have a certain degree of moral responsibility for the world around you no matter what the context and this would clearly follow through to guests. Obviously you can't physically stop someone driving drunk, but you can at least try to stop them offering them somewhere to stay for the night or to call a taxi, etc.

I don't think it should be legislated against, however, as it would certainly be difficult to judge when blame can appropriately be applied. Also, although the hosts have some responsibility for the actions of the guest, ultimate responsibility for those actions will always lie with the guest. In the case above why should the hosts be proscuted on the grounds they have insurance to cover it and the guest doesn't?

We live in a world where prosecution requires someone to always be at blame. Accidents happen, often avoidable, but that doesn't stop them happening. Why does there necessarily have to be a court prosecution to follow every one of these?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
9th May, 2006 08:43 (UTC)
I think they have some moral responsibility - but it's often impossible to tell when somebody is drunk, so I don't think there's any way of giving them legal responsibility. The only exception might be if they were plying their guest with drink in the full and certain knowledge that the guest would have to drive. If the guest brought their own drinks, as they did in this case, I don't think the host can be held liable.
9th May, 2006 09:08 (UTC)
Do non-private hosts have any legal responsibility? They're supposed to stop serving you at some point, aren't they, but are they supposed to be able to tell if you're driving, or if you've had none and one more might be ok (though a lot easier if everyone just accepted not), rather than, if you're physically falling down?

What could private hosts do? You can't legally imprison someone in your house or take their keys, can you? And you could easily assume that when they had their second drink that meant that they were going to sleep on the couch.

(Obviously as a friend you should try to prevent it, but codifying that seems fraught.)

9th May, 2006 10:53 (UTC)
If I knew someone were going to commit a crime and did not attempt to stop them should I be held responsible for aiding and abetting under the law for it?

Yeah, I'd say so.
9th May, 2006 11:12 (UTC)
Hmmm, good point. That makes it seem like the special case of the general responsibility-to-prevent-a-crime issue, I didn't think of that.
9th May, 2006 15:37 (UTC)
The only proposed liabilty is 'if you don't tell them it is a bad idea and make a cursory effort to stop them (verbal discouragement counts as attempt to stop) then you are liable'.
10th May, 2006 00:09 (UTC)
OK, that would be sensible.
9th May, 2006 17:57 (UTC)
Up to a point. If you serve someone alcohol knowing they're probably going to drive then you're complicit in the drink-driving. If there's alcohol around for the taking and you fail to pay full attention to who is drinking what and whether they're going to be driving then I don't see how it's your fault if someone does drink and then later drive.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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