Drive-through fast food restaurants are a fixture in this country. Drive-through coffee shops are also becoming more common. But how about buying a 30-pack of beer without leaving your car? Tennessee is one state that allows drive-through convenience and liquor stores, and some people believe they only enable people to drive drunk.

Do such establishments contribute to drunk driving accidents? It’s not easy to find direct evidence, but some studies seem to point to “yes.” A study from another state back in 1998, for example, took a look at people arrested for drunk driving and found that many of them preferred to purchase liquor at the drive-up stores.

While many states besides Tennessee have such stores, others have banned them outright. Efforts to open drive-through establishments often are met with criticism in the states that technically allow them.

Some argue that people who want to buy liquor are going to do so wherever they can purchase it, whether it is a drive-through store or not. But others would counter that the practice makes it easier for people to drink in their vehicles.

One man, who was convicted of drunk driving after a crash killed his passenger and severely injured another, apparently visited a drive through store on the day of the crash. He bought a 30 pack of beer, never left his vehicle, and then returned to the store for more. Incidents like that have prompted those seeking a ban on such stores to ask, “What more evidence do we need?”

Source:, “Concern over drive-up alcohol sales spurs efforts at ban,” Alison Bath, July 10, 2012