Editorial: Liability for selling beer to drunks

Finally, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got one right.

In 2018, Oklahoma will expand its liquor laws so that convenience stores, groceries, drug stores and other retailers will be able to sell hard beer and wine for the first time.

In October, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a convenience store may be held liable if they sell beer to an intoxicated person. This should be a sobering decision for retailers who can’t wait to sell hard beer to the public.

The case was about a driver who killed one person and injured another. He was already legally drunk when bought beer from a convenience store hours before the fatal accident.

The liberal court voted 5-4 in favor of allowing lawsuits for beer sales for consumption apart from where it was purchased.

This means that in 2018, retailers like QuikTrip, Reasor’s, Wal-Greens and others will have to train their minimum-wage clerks to spot someone who is already drunk who wants to buy hard beer and wine.

So, the retailers who were so anxious to profit from liberalizing alcohol laws now will find themselves with added legal liability to be responsible.

Oklahoma voters were inviting trouble when they voted to liberalize liquor laws in 2016 (effective next year). It could be even worse in Tulsa County should officials call for a county option vote to allow liquor stores to open on Sundays (for the first time).

Consumption of liquor is going to skyrocket in Oklahoma and Tulsa. That means more drunk driving, more underage drinking and higher insurance costs.

We will see how well clerks do at spotting drunks in 2018.