Gas Stations Selling Fuel To Drunk Drivers Ruled Liable In New Mexico

It’s the second state in the US to reach such a ruling.

In New Mexico, selling miniature liquor bottles for portable consumption is prohibited, while the sale of wines and spirits is completely prohibited at gas stations in McKinley County. However, it seems like selling fuel to intoxicated drivers will be banned altogether in the said state, according to a recent Supreme Court ruling reported by Newsweek.

This makes New Mexico the second state in the US to impose such ruling, with Tennessee being the first to do so to create a “duty of care” for businesses to refrain from selling fuel to inebriated drivers for reasons connected to crashes, injuries, and even fatalities due to driving under the influence.

The court cited an accident in 2011 involving a visibly drunk driver who purchased fuel at a gas station in New Mexico. That same vehicle was involved in a fatal crash moments later, killing the driver in the collision.

According to the New Mexico Supreme Court ruling, which had a 3-to-1 majority vote, “Gasoline is required to operate most vehicles today. Providing gasoline to an intoxicated driver is like providing car keys to an intoxicated driver.”

Of note, New Mexico doesn’t have a law that prohibits the sale of gasoline to intoxicated drivers, but the recent ruling stipulates that the duty not to sell fuel to drunk individuals is parallel to the duty of not giving alcohol or a vehicle.

However, the Supreme Court ruling raises some questions, specifically from the sole opposing vote from New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil, concerning the far-reaching consequences of the ruling, which could affect non-fuel products that enable DWI. These include auto parts stores, tire shops, mechanics, and others.


Newsweek via The Drive

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