Are Limo Drivers Liable for Intoxicated Passengers?

If your limo company experiences an increase of business during the holidays, you may want to pay attention. With New Year’s Eve coming up, your business may be called upon to transport customers to and from New Year’s Eve parties and bars and it may be a great opportunity for you to generate some profits. However, holidays such as New Year’s are risky for livery companies because of the risk intoxicated passengers pose to themselves and others. In order to stay safe during the holidays and avoid livery insurance claims, here is what limo drivers should know about alcohol liability with their passengers.

In Massachusetts, it’s legal for passengers who are being transported in a limousine to have open container beverages as long as they are 21 years of age or older. One aspect limo drivers must account for is making sure passengers who are not 21 are not drinking any alcohol in the limousine whatsoever. Whatever your company’s policy may be, you must make sure each passenger is the proper age. Many companies require this information to be given ahead of time when the customer is reserving the limo. Depending on your company’s policy, you may want to think about only allowing alcohol consumption when all passengers are 21 and older. That way, you mitigate the risk of having a minor consume alcohol in your vehicle without the knowledge of the driver.

Additionally, another aspect limo drivers must be careful with is transporting passengers who are intoxicated. At the end of a long night when you go to pick up your passengers from a party or bar, many may be intoxicated and you could be found liable if anything happens to them. In recent years Massachusetts courts have begun holding livery companies responsible whenever passengers they transport end up becoming injured. In one case, a limo was picking up a group from a bachelor party in Boston and after dropping one passenger off, this person subsequently got behind the wheel of a vehicle and was killed in a drunk driving accident. The court found the livery company responsible, saying that the driver should have known that the passenger would have likely gotten into a vehicle and driven.

In order to avoid any liability claims this holiday season, Wolpert Insurance & Risk Management can help you get the information you need regarding any alcohol liability and how it may affect your limo insurance. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today.

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