CHICAGO (CBS) — In Illinois, drivers looking for an alcohol fill-up don’t even need to leave their car to get one. Many towns allow drive-through liquor stores, and as CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, opponents fear they only make drunk driving easier.
At Barnyard Drive-Thru Liquors in south suburban Harvey, Kenneth Evans pulled up for a cold one without even getting out of his car, ordering two 16 ounce cans of Miller High Life to go, at a buck a can.
“I prefer the drive-through, because it’s more quicker; I ain’t gotta get out of my car,” Evans said.
But activists said they believe the drive-ups promote drunk driving.
Susan McKeigue, CEO of the Illinois chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said, “It just makes it easier, and more accessible to drink and drive.”
That’s an argument drive-through owner Otha Barnes flatly rejected.
“If they walk in, get back in the car, it’s the same thing as if they just drive through and got it,” Barnes said.
Former police officer Sam Canzoneri, a victims’ advocate for MADD, said Barnes’ assessment isn’t quite true. Without having customers walk in, he said, a clerk can’t see if someone is already drunk.
“I think that there are individuals who feel that, if I’m able to pull up in my vehicle, I’m able to order some alcohol, you know, maybe I can drink it on the way home,” he said.
Drive-through liquor stores are popular downstate, as well as in Texas, Arizona, and Ohio. Louisiana even allows drive-throughs to sell frozen mixed drinks.
Former New Orleans resident Michael Allen said, “You go in, you order shots for your daiquiris, and drink ’em on the way out the drive through. It’s no big deal.”
But Evans insisted he has no intention of drinking and driving.
“No, I live right down the street. I’m fixing to get of the car right now, and go back in the house. I still got on my house shoes,” he said.
Drive-through liquor stores are rare in the Chicago area, but common downstate.
Rantoul banned drive-up liquor sales in May, over concerns about serving underage drinkers.
However, past attempts to outlaw drive-through alcohol shops statewide have failed.