Alcohol + Poultry in Motion = Bad Idea

It’s the old story: a driver, alcohol, and a chicken wing.

In Suwanee County, Florida recently, a drunk driver veered onto the shoulder of the road, then over-corrected and found his car pointing the wrong way on the road. He corrected again – right into a tree.

Just another standard drunk-driving accident, one of thousands that happen each day on our nation’s roads.

The only difference was that the driver was eating chicken wing at the time of the crash. There are lots of things that can distract a driver:

Chicken wings and driving don't mix

  • Texting and phoning
  • Pets in the car
  • Internal electronics – navigation systems, stereos, climate controls
  • Reaching for things that have fallen on the floor – always a bad idea
  • External distractions, such as street activity

To that we must add chicken wings. Or, more broadly, eating while driving.

The driver in question was munching on the wing while driving under the influence of alcohol. That’s begging for an accident. Which he got. Fortunately, neither he nor anyone else was killed. But it could easily have happened, with both his judgment impaired and attention distracted.

The lesson: do not drink while driving. Do not eat while driving.

Or the wings you end up with might not be chicken.

Could one question have
saved two lives in Florida?

Every day 28 people die because of drunk driving. Some are just victims – people in the wrong place in the wrong time. Others are the ones who make the reckless decision – they drink, and then get behind the wheel, heedless of the consequences.

28-people-die-from-drunk-driving-every-dayBut others’ decisions can have an impact, even when a driver clearly decides to drive while drunk. In Coral Springs, Florida, a woman named Kayla Mendoza was involved in a fatal accident last November after downing two margaritas containing a total of six shots of tequila. Reports say she was going well over 80 in the wrong direction on the Sawgrass Expressway when she crashed into another car, killing two young women. Kayla Mendoza has been charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Her boss, Marcelo Bruzzo, was in the car with her.

Apparently it was Kayla’s decision to drink and drive, and her boss’s decision not to prevent her. But does that mean the crash was inevitable?

One question could have prevented two drunk driving deaths.margarita

Before the crash Mendoza and Bruzzo had been at a restaurant where they downed the drinks that clouded their judgment. Had the waiter asked, “May I see your driver’s license?” then the margaritas would not have been served, and perhaps the two victims would be alive today. Because Kayla Mendoza was 20 years old, below the legal drinking age.

If there’s a moral in this sad story, it’s that all of us have a responsibility to prevent drunk driving: friends, spouses, family, bystanders, hosts, and yes, waiters. When people are too impaired to take responsibility for their lives, we need to take it for them.

To repeat: every day 28 people die because of drunk driving. It’s hard to know how many could have been saved by the quick action of others on that November day, but we do know this:

But for one question, it could have been 26.