Bangor has a new weapon in the fight against drunk driving after the passage of a citywide ordinance that requires servers and sellers of alcohol to undergo training about state laws. WABI TV reports the new ordinance comes after Bangor police recently issued nearly 70 citations for alcohol-related incidents. Police report seven convenience stores sold to minors during a recent enforcement blitz. Six bars permitted minors into the business and then sold them alcohol.
Bangor’s Public Health and Community Services Department reports the new training is aimed at reducing instances of sales to minors or intoxicated patrons.
Maine Drunk Driving Accident Prevention in Focus
Spring is prime time for underage drunk driving accidents. Spring break, proms, graduations, and the beginning of the summer travel season all increase the risk of teen driving accidents, and far too many of them involve alcohol. Proper training of convenient store clerks, bartenders, and servers is critical when it comes to keeping alcohol out of the hands of underage drivers.
However, even more focus needs to be directed to preventing drunk driving accidents among those ages 21-34. Government statistics reveal these young adults have twice the fatality rate of other motorists when it comes to drunk driving accidents in Maine.
Maine Dram Shop Law – Business and Social Host Liability
Maine Revised Statutes Title 28-A, Chapter 100, known as the “Maine Liquor Liability Act,” provides liability for business owners who sell alcohol to minors or to intoxicated individuals who later cause an injury accident. Unlike many states, Maine law also provides for the liability of private individuals, or social hosts, who provide alcohol to minors or intoxicated individuals who later cause injuries to a third party.
That means those hosting parties may be held legally responsible for accidents or injuries caused by intoxicated guests. The law allows for compensation to injured parties for medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. The law caps non-medical damages at $350,000. However, there is no cap on a direct personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
Drunk driving collisions often result in serious or fatal injuries to multiple victims. Identifying negligent or reckless parties under the Maine Liquor Liability Act can provide additional resources to compensate victims for losses not covered by an at-fault party’s insurance coverage or a victim’s underinsured motorist coverage.
Educating those selling and serving alcohol on the criminal penalties and potential legal liability associated with irresponsible service will make everyone safer in advance of the summer tourist season.
Those hosting parties, particularly where young people will be in attendance, would do well to be a responsible host, both to avoid injuries to friends and guests and to avoid the associated legal liability. Additionally, those who furnish alcohol to minors may face criminal charges carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Employees who sell to minors face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense.
These are complex cases. Injured parties would do well to consult with an experienced personal injury law firm in Bangor as soon as possible after a motor vehicle collision involving alcohol. Even passengers of the at-fault driver may be entitled to compensation.
If you are a victim of a Bangor drunk driving accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Alcohol Seller and Server Examination, Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages