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Is It A Big Deal If My TABC Certificate Lapses?

January 21, 2020

On July 3 around 9:00 p.m., emergency first responders in Odessa arrived at the scene of a car-pedestrian crash. The crash involved two six-year old twin girls, who were allegedly hit by an intoxicated driver. The children were transported to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead. The driver was charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter.

Prior to the accident, the driver had been drinking at a bar in Odessa. In accordance with TABC standard procedure anytime fatality is involved, the bar is now under investigation. The true devastation caused by the driver’s inebriated state is far beyond description.

As alcohol servers, one thing we should reflect on when we hear about events like this is that the importance of monitoring customers and making firm decisions about whether to serve can never be over-emphasized. In the hectic bustle of a server’s work environment, it can be easy to become relaxed. Keeping your certificate current provides the reminder every server needs of the legal standard and the importance of maintaining a commitment to follow it.

What if the server’s TABC certificate in this case wasn’t current? How much harder would it be for that server to show that the standard of care was properly followed? As shattering as it would be to have been this driver’s server no matter what the status of your training, for your own well-being, you would want to know you had done your best. At the very least, you would want to know your TABC certification was valid. A judge or jury would certainly want to know this too.

In addition to your own culpability or liability, an expired TABC Certificate will remove any protection from liability for your employer. But what if you weren’t the one serving the driver? What if you simply worked as another server at the bar? If your certificate has lapsed, even if you weren’t the server of the person in the accident, the entire bar will lose safe harbor protection from liability if even one employee isn’t certified. In order for the bar to have any legal protection, every employee must be certified. So you could have had nothing to do with what happened, but still be the reason the bar goes under, if you let your certificate expire.

Letting your certification lapse, even by a day, is a big problem on all kinds of levels – for you, for your customers, for everyone you work with, and for the public at large.

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