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What are bar servers supposed to look for to avoid DWI liability?

If you are hurt or lose a loved one in a drunk driving accident is the drunk driver the only party liable to be held accountable the pain and suffering that results? Maybe. Maybe not. If that drunk driver took to the road after being served at a bar or restaurant, it is possible that the person who served that driver could be liable, too.

But in the wake of a devastating accident, what does it take to unravel who might have done what and when? That's something that an attorney with experience can help decipher. Short of that, there are certain things that anyone working in a business that sells liquor should be attuned to in order to keep patrons from driving drunk. Indeed, Texas law requires them to take action

Anyone who is licensed to drive should be well aware that it is illegal to get behind the wheel if their blood alcohol level is over .08 percent. But who carries around a blood testing kit or even their own breath-testing device to keep themselves in check? It might happen, but it's rare.

So sellers and servers in bars have to take responsibility. By law, they are required to refuse to sell alcohol to anyone under 21 or to anyone who is intoxicated. But without the equipment to test for intoxication, what are they supposed to look for?

Here's what the state offers, and the signs are ones anyone can watch for.

  • Slurred speech
  • General mental confusion
  • Shaky balance when standing or walking
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Disheveled looks
  • Odors or other signs of alcohol use

There is also special seller/server training individuals can take to become more adept at making determinations, but it's voluntary.

When looking into possible extended liability, questions investigators will likely ask would include whether servers checked the signs above. But in addition, they could try to determine if servers properly checked IDs, discouraged drunk customers from driving and informed authorities if all their control efforts failed. 

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