Michael Berry

Michael Berry

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New Mexico: Gas Stations Now Liable If They Sell Fuel To Drunk Drivers

The New Mexico Supreme Court rules this week that gas stations have a legal obligation not to sell fuel to drivers if they are intoxicated.

The court says that gas vendors may be liable if they supply gasoline to a drunk driver who could potentially injure other people.

Justice Shannon Bacon wrote in the majority opinion:

"A duty not to sell gasoline to an intoxicated person is consistent with liability for providing an intoxicated person with alcohol or a vehicle.Gasoline, alcohol, and the vehicle itself are all enabling instrumentalities involved in intoxicated driving. Gasoline is required to operate most vehicles today. Providing gasoline to an intoxicated driver is like providing car keys to an intoxicated driver. Accordingly, liability under negligent entrustment for the sale of gasoline to an intoxicated driver is consistent with New Mexico law."

KOAT-TV reports:

"Tennessee is the only other state in the country to apply this law and the decision on the ruling Monday, came in response to a request from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to resolve a question of state law concerning the potential liability of a McKinley County retailer that sold gasoline to an intoxicated driver who ran out of gas in 2011...
The Supreme Court said it is unclear under the new law the legal duty established, how much investigation vendors must do to determine whether a person may be intoxicated when trying to refuel their vehicle, particularly when many motorists pay for gas at pumps rather than dealing with an attendant inside a station.”

So field sobriety tests by the gas stations attendants before fill-ups?

As the Czar pointed out on the show yesterday, what’s going to end up happening is they are going to send some gas station attendants to prison who had no idea.

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