The Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled on Monday that gas stations in the state can sell fuel to drunk drivers, making it the second state in the league to extend this type of responsibility to gas station operators. Tennessee is the first.
This ruling The Supreme Court of New Mexico agreed to hear a request from the Federal Court of Appeals to resolve a state legal issue concerning the potential liability of retailers who sold gasoline to drunk drivers in 2011. After refueling and returning to the highway, the driver crossed the center line and hit an oncoming vehicle, causing the death of the passengers in the vehicle.
According to the summary of the case, the drunk driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.176, which was more than twice the legal limit of New Mexico (0.08), and was arrested for driving under the influence, homicide in a vehicle, and driving to the left. The court’s ruling pointed out that only another state—Tennessee—applied the law in this way to create a “duty of care” for companies to avoid providing fuel to drunk drivers because of the risk of drunk driving.
Although New Mexico does not have a law specifically prohibiting the sale of gasoline or auto parts to drunk (or incapacitated) customers, the ruling sets a precedent under the legal principle of negligent entrustment, which outlines the liability of potentially dangerous car owners. Only provide them to people who can use them safely.
Although New Mexico does not have a law prohibiting the sale of gasoline to drunk drivers, the majority of the court wrote that the obligation not to sell gasoline to a drunk person is consistent with the obligation to provide alcohol or a vehicle to that person, who has been subject to State court recognized.
In her objection, the now retired judge Barbara Vigil wrote that the sale or supply of alcohol is regulated and the law does not guarantee that the liability for driving under the influence will be extended to the retail of non-alcoholic goods. She pointed out that “this huge change in the law may have a profound impact on retail companies,” which has aroused concerns among mechanics, service departments, and retail stores that sell DIY parts.
Vigil also pointed out that it is almost impossible for the waiter to monitor the extent to which the retailer is responsible for investigating the drunkenness of customers, or whether this responsibility will extend to self-service situations, and there is almost no guidance.
This article contains Associated Press.