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Can bars be held responsible for dunk driving accidents?

Can bars be held responsible for dunk driving accidents?

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious problem all over the world, including India. Between 2008 and 2017, close to 80,000 people died in road accidents nationwide due to consumption of alcohol or drugs, according to data by the Ministry of Road Transport and highways in 2019.

Authorities have been trying to cut down on these accidents for years by undertaking stringent measures like raising fines and prison time, and increasing checkposts.

In fatal drunk driving accidents the police often investigate the bars that served the concerned individuals alcohol. Based on this probe, they register a case against the management. These cases are usually on the grounds of overserving an intoxicated person.

Notably, in September 2021, the police booked 6 to 7 pubs and bars in Hyderabad, Telangana after verifying that their customers were involved in drunk driving accidents.

Countries like the US have Dram Shop Laws that hold bars, restaurants and other alcohol-selling establishments liable for serving alcohol to an already intoxicated patron who later causes an accident leading to death, injury, or property damage.

To protect themselves against this risk, alcohol-serving restaurants and bars opt for a Liquor Liability Insurance policy. It indemnifies the business against their liability resulting from the Dram Shop Laws. Under this, everything from legal costs, payable damages, medical bills, and repair costs are covered.

This type of insurance is also taken by caterers, liquor stores and grocery stores selling alcohol. It can also be added as an endorsement to General Liability Insurance.

Liquor Liability Insurance is not yet available in India. However, General Liability Insurance is very common across restaurants and hotels.

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Further Reading

Know more: Types of Liability Insurance policies for businesses