Should Bar Owners Report Potential Drunk Driving?

I heard of a case of late where a bartender got fired because he/she reported a customer driving after leaving the bar drunk. The customer got pulled over just as he was getting out of the parking lot and arrested. He was charged with DUI and taking to jail.

This is a hard nut to crack. Was it ethical for the bartender to have reported the driver to police? The answer to that question depends on who you ask.

To a police officer or other law enforcement officer, the bartender was just being a good and concerned citizen. It is fair the bartender got concerned about the safety of the other drivers on the road and was trying to prevent a worse case scenario situation. If a collision occurred and there was any fatally, that would be the gravest of situations.

Looking at the situation from another lens, it becomes apparent that the bartender benefited financially from the customer getting drunk and the concern for drunk driving was only a second thought. If he/she knew that the customer was sufficiently drunk to the point that it incapacitated his driving abilities, it should have been his/her position to ensure that the customer took a cab home instead of driving his car himself.

If you enabled someone to get drunk, then you should also take the moral initiative to ensure their well being thereafter especially if you benefited from the person getting drunk. Some would say, no one should be responsible for anyone getting drunk but themselves. I certainly agree to some extent with that opinion as every case may have to be looked at differently.

In the eyes of the customer, the interpretation could be that, the bar tender took advantage of him being vulnerable to drinking more and induced him to drink even more from the number of times he/she would walk to the table and ask if he needed more drinks. It is certainly tempting tro get more drinks when asked especially when you know you are getting inebriated.

However you decide on this ethical issue, I would like to make a point that if you someone is drunk and you were an enabler, it would be responsible to ensure they do not get into trouble and take care of them. Unless someone is uncontrollable and unwilling to heed any advice or mild coercion, it won't be considered inappropriate if you reported them up because you felt they were a potential hazard to other responsible drivers.

Whether bar owners should or should not report potential drunk driving cases should be looked at on a case by case basis.

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