Consider This: Who's Really Responsible? - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Consider This: Who's Really Responsible?

In its upcoming session, the State Supreme Court will hear a case that could change alcohol consumption laws. If the justices decide to overturn an earlier ruling, restaurants and bars could be held liable if a customer leaves their establishment, drives while intoxicated and is involved in an accident.

Ultimately, it's not just bars and restaurants; if a friend drinks too much at a party you host in your home, you too could be liable for his stupidity if he gets behind the wheel and has an accident.

Listen, we know drinking and driving is a huge problem that needs to be solved; but this is not the way. A bartender's job is serving alcohol. Yes, he should cut off a customer who's had too much to drink; but in the end he has no idea whether the customer is walking, riding a bike, taking a cab, has a designated driver or is making the stupid decision to get behind the wheel and endanger others.

If you want to solve the problem of drinking and driving, here's how you do it: you toughen up the laws on the offenders. We need a bill that actually has the guts to say, "You drink, drive and kill someone, it's now a capital offense!" "You get in an accident and injure someone; it's a mandatory jail sentence." "You get cited for DWI and fail the breathalyzer test; you lose your license and spend some time in jail while you await trial. That's it -- no appeals, no provisional license, no circumventing the legal process because you have the money for a lawyer."

The point is: if you really want to solve the drinking and driving problem, then go after the people who are doing it, not the poor guy behind the bar. That's what we think. Tell us what you think.

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