Caresse Jackman

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Video: Bars Being Held Responsible for Drunk Drivers

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CLAY COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — “DUI’s are a concern of all law enforcement agencies.”

Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott has witnessed the fatal consequences of drinking and driving.

“I’ve actually had to crawl inside some vehicles and help drag people out,” Scott said.

Which is why he urges people who’ve been drinking to find a designated driver or allow law enforcement to help.

“We work really closely with and try to with our clubs here in the county and ask them to call us if they have a particular situation where somebody is drinking and getting belligerent and wants to drive, call us. Let us come deal with it, because we do not want these people on the road,” Scott said.

In some cases, bars or restaurants are liable for alcohol-related traffic accidents.

“Those kinds of laws are traditionally called ‘Dram Shop’ laws. Mississippi can hold the sellers of alcohol liable, but only in very specific instance where it can be proven or shown that the seller of the alcohol knew that the person was intoxicated. So, there’s a factual inquiry were they visibly intoxicated, and that’s the word you see in the case law,” Attorney Carrie Jourdan said.

While the wording of the law is clear, attorneys say if you decide to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, self accountability is always a factor.

“I mean there’s still, and rightly so, a level of personal responsibility for your conduct. I mean, they’re not mind readers, but it is important if you are a restaurant owner or a bar owner, club owner that you train your staff and you talk them and make sure they understand what to look out for,” Jourdan said.

Bars can also be held liable if they serve someone without requesting proof of age or after closing time.