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Dram Shop Liability

Dram shop liability laws mean that if a customer buys a drink, leaves that location, and then causes harm, the owner of the place where the drink was served is legally responsible. Passing and enforcing dram shop liability laws reduced alcohol-related harms in numerous studies. For example, the percent of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities decreased by an average of 6.4% after passage of dram shop policies.


Rammohan, V., Hahn, R. A., Elder, R., Brewer, R., Fielding, J., Naimi, T. S., ... & Task Force on Community Preventive Services. (2011). Effects of dram shop liability and enhanced overservice law enforcement initiatives on excessive alcohol consumption and related harms: two Community Guide systematic reviews. American journal of preventive medicine, 41(3), 334-343. Available online here

Mosher, J. F. (1979). Dram shop liability and the prevention of alcohol-related problems. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 40(9), 773-798. Abstract available here.

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