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Drunk Driving Accidents Expected to Increase with Alcohol-Serving Fast Food Chains

Serving alcohol at drive-thru restaurants could increase the risk of DUI accidents in Fort Lauderdale. Yet Sonic Drive-In has been playing around with the idea of offering three types of bottles draft beer and 10 varieties of wine to their menu for customers who eat on the patio.

The Sonic in Homestead was recently approved by City Council members to be the first of the chain’s 3,500 restaurants to offer alcoholic beverages. The restaurant is located at 2425 NE Eighth St. in Homestead.

Our Miami personal injury attorneys understand that battling drunk drivers is tough enough as it is. Add drive-thru alcohol availability and the risk increases. A number of fast food chains have experimented with the idea in previous years, but this is the first to do so in our area.

“They’re trying so much to stay in business and find new things for customers,” said Richard Turner, a spokesman for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “What’s amazing about the American consumer is their needs are always changing.”

Restaurants that will serve alcohol will only provide it to customers who are eating on the patio.

“For consumers, it’s basically about having it your way — even if it’s having a beer with your burger,” states Ron Paul, president at Technomic, a restaurant consulting firm.

In Florida, it’s illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage in a car, even if it’s parked, according to The Miami Herald.

“We think it’s irresponsible to have someone drive up and we hand a beer out the window,” said Johnny Winton, one of the franchise owners. “That doesn’t make sense at all. We’re trying to have a family-friendly atmosphere out on that patio.”

Nearly 11,000 people were killed in traffic accidents that involved an impaired driver in 2009 alone. These accidents made up more than 30 percent of the total traffic accidents in the United States. Innocent motorists are oftentimes killed in these preventable accidents. During that year, more than 200 children age 14 and younger were killed in these accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, those ages 21- to 24-years-old had the highest percentage of drivers involved in fatal drunk driving accidents. Florida witnessed nearly 1,000 traffic fatalities in 2009 because of traffic accidents that involved an intoxicated driver.

For the time being, drivers are asked to practice safe driving habits and to remain sober behind the wheel, regardless of who’ve serving your dinner.

Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping motorists who have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.

Additional Resources:

Sonic’s New Drink-and-Drive Thru, by Austin Johansen, death + taxes

New ‘Sonic’ will sell beer and wine as well as burgers and fries, by Christina Veiga, The Miami Herald

More Blog Entries:

Sporting Events a High Risk for Drunk Driving Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 18, 2011

Man charged in Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident that claimed life of Miami Heat dancer, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, March 25, 2011

South Florida drunk driving accidents continue to cause needless tragedy, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, August 15, 1011

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