Drinking and driving claims lives every day. Although you may have just been out for a nice dinner with friends, the very act of getting behind the wheel after you’ve had a few to drink can mean your evening ends in injury or death for you or a completely innocent bystander.
Restaurants who serve alcohol know this, and they are always on the lookout for people who look as if they’ve had one too many, or who leave the restaurant with the clear intent to drive. News stories have appeared of servers who refuse to continue serving drunk patrons, and others who have called the police when they’ve seen a patron who clearly intended to leave for the parking lot.
But a restaurant owner might notice when a car was left behind because someone was too drunk to drive. Some restaurants, like an Edmonton-area Original Joe’s, are even starting to reward customers for leaving their cars in the parking lot.
The general manager of Original Joe’s has been leaving notes on cars left in the parking lot that say, “Thank you for leaving your car parked overnight. I’m not sure if you had consumed alcohol at our restaurant or not, but we wanted to thank you for not drinking and driving.” He also includes a coupon for a pound of wings.
The manager says he does it because its his and the servers job to protect the people in the building. If someone is so drunk that they aren’t thinking clearly, the servers do their best to take away the choice to drive by putting them in a cab.
By being vigilant about who they serve alcohol to, they are protecting their customers from an impaired driving charge in Alberta. One of the worst provinces for drunk driving in Canada, Alberta penalties include fines, driver’s license suspensions, and an ignition interlock for a minimum of one year for all offenders.
Most people don’t go out to nightclubs or pubs to drink. They spend time in restaurants like Original Joes, having a casual dinner and before they know it, they’ve had one too many. That’s why this is a trend that needs to catch on across Canada. If more restaurant owners were watching how impaired people were when they were walking out the door, a lot of people could be stopped before they make the fatal choice of drinking and driving.