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Drunk Driving Accident Leads to Lawsuit, Proposal for New Law

A drunk driving accident that claimed the life of a 19-year-old last February has resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit as well as a proposal for a new law that would be aimed at stopping this type of accident in the future.

The accident giving rise to the proposed bill occurred in February when a 19-year-old man and his friends were partying on a bus rented for one of the men's 21st birthday. The young men were apparently allowed to bring alcohol onto the bus in violation of the company rules issued by the owner of the bus.

After the party, the 19-year-old was involved in an accident that resulted in his own death and caused seriously injuries to a passenger in his car. At the time of the crash, the driver was reported to have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.23, almost three times the limit for an adult driver.

Now, the 19-year-old's family is helping advocate for a new law that would treat party buses in the same way limos are treated for purposes of serving alcohol. Currently, limo drivers are required to ascertain the age of passengers and warn any underage individuals not to drink. Violations can result in fines and an eventual business license revocation.

However, those current rules apparently don't apply to vehicles other than limos such as party buses, which have become popular places for underage individuals to throw a party. The proposed law would reportedly broaden the existing rules from limos to all vehicles and impose a criminal sanction for repeat offenders.

As for the family's lawsuit against the limo company owning the party bus, the family seems to be arguing that since the company broke its own rules in allowing drinking on the bus, it is to some degree contributed to the young man's death.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, Family of dead Burlingame teen pushes bill to curb underage drinking on party buses, Joshua Melvin 12/23/10

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