Last year, Georgia made it legal for commercial establishments to sell to-go alcoholic drinks in sealed containers. There have been concerns, however, that to-go alcoholic drinks can increase a motorist’s risk of driving under the influence of alcohol and being involved in an auto accident.
The demand for alcoholic drinks which are sold in containers and are meant for persons to carry home with them skyrocketed during the pandemic when bars and restaurants were restricted in the number of patrons they could serve. Seven states, including Georgia, passed laws that allowed the sale of these sealed containers of alcohol, with restrictions imposed on these sales. In Georgia, to-go cocktails must contain a maximum of 3 ounces of alcohol. The container must be sealed with no option for a straw. Further, the person taking the alcoholic drink must store these somewhere safe like a locked glove box and the container must not be opened while driving. The law never meant for the use of these to-go cocktails by persons to drink while driving. You cannot drink these to-go cocktails as you do other non-alcoholic beverages while driving.
However, safety advocates have been concerned that the law allowing availability of alcohol in the car places all the responsibility for safe use of these drinks on the motorist. However, the law does not take into consideration the fact that motorists might be tempted to open the container and drink at the wheel. While initial data seemed to suggest that there is no significant increase in the risk of drunk driving car accidents as a result of to-go cocktail sales, states that have allowed the sale of such alcoholic beverages to go have seen an increase in drunk driving car accidents. The flip side, however, is that states that do not allow or severely restrict the sale of these cocktails have also seen an increase in alcohol-related auto accidents in the past two years. It is hard, therefore, to pinpoint the sale of alcoholic beverages as the reason for the spike in car accidents.
In fact, some advocates for the law say that it is possible that the sale of such to-go alcoholic beverages indirectly causes a reduction in drunk driving accidents. People could actually be encouraged to drink limited quantities at a restaurant and take the remaining alcohol to consume at home.
Auto accidents across several categories have been up over the last couple of years as a result of the extraordinary circumstances of the time. More information about the popularity of these beverages and a corresponding increase in car accident deaths as a result is necessary before we can judge whether auto wreck risks have been significantly increased through the availability of these beverages.
The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages. You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.