Washington Law Review


Gradually, courts have joined these efforts to alleviate the harm caused by the intoxicated driver. A few courts have recognized an action in tort against those who contribute to drunken driving by serving intoxicating liquor. These courts have acted, in part, to relieve victims of the costs of drunken driving and to distribute the costs among those responsible for its occurrence. Washington courts should recognize the liability of a negligent social purveyor of alcoholic beverages. Courts need not be constrained from recognizing a common law cause of action because of competing social interests or legislative inaction. Washington courts should rule that a social host who has served a guest alcohol to the point of obvious intoxication has the duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the guest from operating a motor vehicle. While courts may and should extend liability via common law, supplementary legislative action is also desirable.

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