What type of commercial establishment attracts the most drunk drivers? It’s fair to say that bars, restaurants, and liquor stores are in some way associated with DUIs, but do they attract them? Or are they more likely to produce them?
The answer we’re looking for is fast-food restaurants. A surprisingly high number of impaired drivers are apprehended in or near the drive-thru windows of burger, coffee, and other fast-food shops.
The Golden Arches reap their share of the notoriety. When bars close up, people with late-night munchies have few choices. A 24-hour McDonald’s is tempting when you want to scarf down something warm and you want to do it right away. And so servers at late-night fast-food restaurants are used to seeing impaired drivers show up.
Recently in Barrie, Ontario a customer drove drunk through a drive-thru in the wee hours of a recent Saturday, hitting another car in the process. Employees called the police and the man was arrested, tested, and booked.
Another similar incident happened in July in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. In this case, also early on a Saturday morning, the driver went for McDonald’s and hit another vehicle.
As long as drunk people get hungry late at night, they will always be aiming – perhaps with poor accuracy – for the drive-thru. There are no laws that will separate drunk drivers from fast-food restaurants. For that reason, there are laws – and technology – to separate drivers from drinking. Ignition interlocks – devices which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking – are one way to keep drivers sober. Better to stop drunk driving at the source and let the chips (and burgers) fall where they may. Because whether or not you deserve a break today, chances are you won’t get one from the police.