New law for SC businesses that serve alcohol inspired by Dillon officer hit by drunk driver

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina businesses that serve alcohol are now required to have liability insurance as part of a bill that went into effect Saturday and inspired by a Dillon police officer hit by a drunk driver.

The new law dubbed the Dram Shop Bill requires business owners who apply for or renew their liquor license and sell alcohol after 5 p.m. to carry a minimum $1 million liquor liability policy. It was set up to help victims who are wounded, paralyzed, or killed due to alcohol related crimes.

“This bill will quite literally be a lifesaver for many families. It will also protect business owners who serve alcohol by prohibiting hidden alcohol exclusions of insurance coverage in the fine print of their policies. South Carolina is better today because the legislature recognized that sound public policy is holding folks accountable for their actions,” said SCAJ President Alex Cash in a press release.

This law was originally inspired by the crash of Dillon police officer Jacob Richardson. On July 6, 2014, he was heading to a disturbance call at a bar. While on the way, Richardson was hit by a drunk driver who the bar over-served.

As a result, Richardson was paralyzed with permanent brain damage and one of the passengers in the car that hit him was killed.

The legislation garnered bipartisan support and was sponsored by Senators Rankin (R-Horry) and Malloy (D-Darlington) and Rep. Bill Herbkersman (R-Blufton), who filed the companion bill in the House.