Super Sunday Hosts Urged To Have A Game-Plan For Responsible Entertaining

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

 
NEW YORK, January 29, 2014 — Defense may win championships but a Super Bowl party host’s game plan must include designated drivers, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
 
“More than 30 states have statutes, or case law, which say social hosts can be held liable for injuries or deaths arising out of an alcohol-related accident to which the host can be linked,” said Michael Barry, vice president, Media Relations, I.I.I.
 
Social host liability laws vary widely from state to state. A few do not impose any liability on social hosts while others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Other states, however, extend a social host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere an inebriated guest of theirs goes. In addition, nine states have had court rulings holding a non-commercial server of alcoholic beverages liable for damages caused by guests under the age of 21.
 
The hours after the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday, Feb. 2, could be hazardous ones, if alcohol-impaired motorists were to drive home after attending a Super Bowl party. The game’s 6:30 p.m., ET, kick-off does not help matters because driver fatigue may also become an issue.
 

The number of U.S. fatalities caused by drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent in 2012, as compared to 2011, rising to 10,322 deaths from 9,865, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Statutes Or Court Cases Holding Alcoholic Beverage Servers Liable

(As of September 2019)

  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     X  
Arizona X X X X Nevada     X (4)  
Arkansas X X     New Hampshire X   X X
California X   X   New Jersey X   X X
Colorado X X X   New Mexico X   X X
Connecticut X X   X (4, 5) New York X   X  
Delaware         North Carolina X X X X (4)
D.C.   X (4)     North Dakota X   X  
Florida X   X X Ohio X X X X (4)
Georgia X   X   Oklahoma   X    
Hawaii   X X   Oregon X X X  
Idaho X X X   Pennsylvania X X   X (4)
Illinois X   X X Rhode Island X      
Indiana X X X X South Carolina X X X X (4)
Iowa X X X X (4) South Dakota        
Kansas         Tennessee X      
Kentucky X X   X (4) Texas X X X X
Louisiana X X X X Utah X   X X
Maine X   X   Vermont X   X X
Maryland         Virginia        
Massachusetts X X X X Washington X X X X (4)
Michigan X   X X (4) West Virginia X X (4)    
Minnesota X   X X Wisconsin X X X X
Mississippi X X X X Wyoming X   X X (4)
Missouri X                

(1) Indicates some form of liability is permitted by statute.
(2) States where common-law liability has not been specifically overruled by statute or where common-law actions are specifically recognized in addition to statutory liability.
(3) Indicates that language is capable of being read broadly enough to include noncommercial servers.
(4) For guests under the age of 21.
(5) Only if host either purveyed or supplied alcohol.

Source: American Property Casualty Insurers Association.

Besides recruiting designated drivers, the I.I.I. suggests that Super Bowl party hosts:

  • Make sure you understand your state laws. Before your party starts, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws.
  • Speak with your insurance professional about your social host liability risks. Standard homeowners insurance policies often provide liability coverage but it is typically limited either to $100,000 or $300,000, which might not be enough.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol. 
  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  • If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab. In the alternative, have them sleep at your home. 
Other I.I.I. resources include:
 
Issues Updates: Drunk Driving; Auto Crashes
 
The I.I.I. has a full library of educational videos on its You Tube Channel. Information about I.I.I. mobile apps can be found here.
 

THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
 

Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500; www.iii.org 

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