Large Event Hosts–Are You Liable for Drunk Driving Incidents?

Large Event Hosts–Are You Liable for Drunk Driving Incidents?

Live events represent incredible business opportunities, and alcohol sales on-premises can boost attendance as well as profits tremendously. However, there are a few serious risks to account for if you are setting up an event of your own where alcoholic beverages will be sold. 

Local ordinances and legal requirements such as proper signage are common issues organizations run into when preparing for large events. However, there are also potential liabilities to consider that could extend to damages and injuries caused by anyone who may have consumed alcohol at your event. 

You may be wondering if you could be held liable for something that occurs after someone has already left your event as well. Unfortunately, the answer is “maybe”.

It Depends on the Venue

The event itself can determine what rules you must follow and what kind of risk you take on if you choose to sell alcohol. Bars and restaurants are generally subjected to so-called “dram shop” laws that establish safe practices for serving guests alcohol. Stadiums, fields and other open spaces may be held to a different set of standards, depending on jurisdiction.

Bars and Restaurants

For bars and restaurants, the golden rule to follow in most states is that of not serving visibly intoxicated people any more alcohol. Although it can be difficult to tell if this rule has legitimately been broken, given its subjective nature, anyone who is actually found guilty of such an offense can be incarcerated, fined and forced to make restitution payments as well. 

However, the laws governing such scenarios vary considerably by state. Wherever actual dram shop laws apply, anyone injured by a drunk driver can hold the establishment that served them accountable as well.

Stadiums and Fields

Stadium owners and schools with live sporting events can be held liable for injuries and damage involving the use of alcohol as well. If alcohol is provided on-premises and an incident occurs involving someone who has been drinking, proper safety measures must be taken to ensure attendees are not in danger. For instance, not having security personnel or attendants in areas where alcohol is being consumed can open the door for civil liability

Mitigating the Risk

Ideally, organizations that regularly host live events should take appropriate measures to mitigate the risks of being held liable in any capacity. Most of these measures amount to creating a genuinely safe environment for anyone in attendance and educating your team members on the protocol in case of an emergency.

Train Your Staff

Training your team members to recognize the signs of intoxication is essential for accommodating most states’ alcohol serving laws. However, your servers should also be trained to ask for a form of identification that they can use to verify the customer’s age. 

Underage alcohol sales can lead to serious criminal charges, even if done unknowingly. Validating an ID before a transaction is allowed can completely curb this problem if a suitable system is adopted for the purpose.

Create a Policy

Your event must have a reasonable policy in place to deal with the litany of risks that come with alcohol being made available. Staff should be trained to understand this policy and enforce it. 

Whether you choose to limit drinks per customer to a specific number or prevent patrons from driving home if they are found to be visibly intoxicated, your team members should be prepared to follow through with your policy.

Be Prepared to Enforce the Policy

Having security personnel ready to handle potential problems should they arise is integral to truly uphold your event’s drinking policy. Inebriated patrons could become defensive when asked to leave their vehicles or cut off from further alcohol purchases. Security staff plays a pivotal role in preventing escalation from putting anyone in harm’s way.

Know Your Customers

Checking IDs is an especially important step for securing alcohol sales and consumption at a live event. Besides simply preventing underage consumption of alcohol, ID validation processes help prevent customers from sidestepping maximum serving allowances as well. This is precisely why an accurate ID validation tool should be used and Intellicheck offers the best tool for the job. 

Intellicheck’s ID validation solution can be quickly and easily set up for live events. Capabilities such as Do Not Serve lists stop attendees from going concession stand to concession stand looking for someone who will serve them – whether they are underage or just have had too much.   

Retail businesses and law enforcement agencies around the country trust Intellicheck’s industry-leading 99% accuracy and sub-second results. You can quickly implement this solution with the hardware you have on hand–even a smartphone–and keep your patrons safe in the process.

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