Another state's Supreme Court has ruled that a gas station can be held liable for damages caused by a DUI incident.

New Mexico is following Tennessee's lead after its Supreme Court ruled that a gas station that sells fuel to an obviously intoxicated driver is failing to uphold a "duty of care" to the community, according to Yahoo! News.

The case that this decision came from happened in 2011 when an intoxicated driver stopped at a gas station to refuel, and then got back on the highway and was involved in a crash. The intoxicated driver traveled into the oncoming lane and struck another vehicle, killing its occupant.

The story goes on to point out that, though it is not illegal to sell gas to an intoxicated person, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the retailer has a "duty" to not sell gasoline to an intoxicated person who intends to drive. The high court compared it to giving an obviously intoxicated person the keys to a vehicle.

The one dissenting opinion came from a judge who felt that the ruling could set a precedence for overreach, wondering where the "duty" would end. Would auto parts stores be held to the same "duty"? If an intoxicated person brings a flat tire to a tire repair shop and then gets into a wreck after putting that tire on their car, would the tire store be liable in any way?

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I would hope that anyone who witnesses an intoxicated person attempting to get into a vehicle to drive would do the right thing, whether it be distracting them in some way to prevent them from driving or calling 911 to report it. Ultimately, I believe, it is the driver who is liable, unless the witness did NOTHING to try to stop or report the intoxicated driver.


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