In order to prevent over-serving at bars, many states have adopted what is known as the Dram Shop Act. The Dram Shop Act allows victims and the families of victims to sue the bar or establishment that served alcohol to a drunken individual that subsequently injured someone in a drunken driving accident. These alcohol infractions are regulated by the Department of Revenue who will strip bars and bartenders of their licenses if found to be repeatedly over-serving.
Georgia is one of the many states who have adopted the Dram Shop Act. Unlike the other states, however, Georgia does not actively enforce this law. A television station in Gwinnett County, Georgia chose to investigate local bars after a series of drunk drivers caused major accidents on the interstates. In one drunken driving incident in which a driver was killed after a car crossed the median and hit him head-on, the TV station found that the driver who caused the accident had been “served five to seven bottles at the restaurant despite the fact that they rolled into the door wasted.” It was later discovered that that particular bar/restaurant had been repeatedly accused of over-serving and even staying open after hours to continue serving. The victim’s family sued the bar and settled for $500,000, but the bar still remains open and the Department of Revenue has still failed to crack-down on other establishments who over-serve.