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Whatever the Results of the Game, You’ll Win by Being a Good Host at Your Super Bowl Party; Serve Alcohol Responsibly and Review Your Insurance Policy

UNDER SOME STATE SOCIAL LIABILITY LAWS YOU COULD BE RESPONSIBLE IF YOUR GUESTS DRINK AND DRIVE

JANUARY 25, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; media@iii.org

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NEW YORK, January 28, 2013 — Whether you’re a 49ers fan hoping your team wins its sixth Lombardi Trophy or a Ravens fan eager for big brother John Harbaugh to put the beat-down on younger brother Jim, remember that a considerate Super Bowl party host not only puts out the baby-backs and beer, but also recruits a championship team of designated drivers before the opening kickoff, according to theInsurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
 
Just because the big game is played for all the marbles, doesn’t mean your fun has to be served on the rocks… Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most hazardous driving days of the year, especially when impaired motorists drive home after the parties. Contributing to the inherent dangers of drinking and driving is the relatively late kickoff (6:30 p.m., ET) and the fact that the game may go on for hours.
 
About 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2011 involved drunk drivers, according to the most recent figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  
 
Young men—ages 21 to 34 years old—are the core audience for major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and are also the most likely to drive while intoxicated, notes NHTSA. They are also the most likely to drive fast and not wear their seatbelts.
 

“Those throwing a party where alcohol is served have both a legal and moral responsibility to make sure that their guests are capable of driving safely,” saidLoretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I. “You don’t want to allow anyone who has been drinking to drive a vehicle while impaired. Not only do your guests risk injury or death to themselves or others, but you may be held financially responsible.

 

Social host liability, the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest, can have a serious impact on party throwers. Social host liability laws vary widely from state to state: some states do not impose any liability on social hosts; others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises; some extend the host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes; and many states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors. However, in all, 37 states have enacted laws or have case law that permit social hosts who serve liquor to people who subsequently are involved in crashes to be held liable for any injury or death. 

 

STATUTES OR COURT CASES HOLDING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE SERVERS LIABLE
  Commercial servers Social hosts   Commercial servers Social hosts
State Statute (1) Court (2) Statute (3) Court State Statute (1) Court (2) Statute (3) Court
Alabama X   X X Montana X X X  
Alaska X   X   Nebraska        
Arizona X X X X Nevada     X (4)  
Arkansas X X     New Hampshire X   X X
California X   X (4)   New Jersey X   X
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