Jul 04 2011

Fast Food and Alcohol- You Can’t Be Serious! Graehm Gray

Hello my fans and here is another in the ridiculous fads that parents will have to deal with:  fast food restaurants selling beer and wine. That’s right, Starbucks, Burger King and Sonic are just some of the restaurant chains that have already added beer and wine to their menus. My first reaction was, you can’t be serious! Tennis great John McEnroe’ s immortal statement on the tennis court was my first thought too. We have millions of kids (and adults) eating at fast food restaurants on a daily basis and now, not only will I have to worry about their food selections, but now they will be exposed to alcohol. Yes I know, alcohol is served at many food establishments. Yes I know that alcohol is served at most if not all stadiums where all sporting events are held. But wait a minute. How can that be a good thing? You are telling me that drinking alcohol and getting on the road is good? You are telling me that picking up an order of beer (or wine) with your hamburger and fries, while driving home is also good? No, this is not good. Exposing our young, under the drinking age kids to alcohol is not a good thing.  We are talking about young kids. Not junior adults at the drinking age. As it stands now, kids without proper identification can’t even get into some establishments that serve alcohol. Now, they will be able to stand in line and order their big burger sandwich (or hopefully salad) or coffee drinks  and watch adults right next to them ordering suds or Beaujolais!

Come on folks, I appreciate the freedoms of our society and the Constitution. But this sign of freedom doesn’t seem like a good idea at all. Putting alcohol into the hands of drivers is not a good thing. And I can’t believe that alcohol served at stadiums, for thousands of people to drink, right before they get behind the wheel of their cars is a good thing. Maybe if we had designated drivers at these events for all of those people that want to have an alcoholic beverage- that would work. But having the availability of alcohol increased –that’s good?  No! Okay, it’s being done already in Europe-for many years. Yes, I know that. There are differences in our freedoms all over this world. That doesn’t make it right. Are we really looking out for our children? Or is this a quest to improve the bottom line for Corporate America? Of course serving alcohol will add to a restaurant’s profits. And yes this will help balance the loss of income caused by the current recession. But, hey, it’s our kids we are talking about.  

Let’s talk statistics according to the *MADD-Mothers Against Drunk Driving site:                   

  • This year, 10,839 people will die in drunk-driving crashes – one every 50 minutes
  • High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school or believe good grades are not important.
  • An average drunk driver has driven drunk 87 times before first arrest.
  • Drunk driving costs each adult in this country almost $500 per year.
  • One in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime
  • Every minute, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash.
  • One in five teens binge drink. Only 1 in 100 parents believes his or her teen binge drinks.
  • Teen alcohol use kills about 6000 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one out of three of those is alcohol related.
  • Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash

 Let’s talk about what alcohol does to our driving skills**: 

  • reaction time- slow reflexes can decrease the ability to react swiftly to situations
  • vision – eye muscles function more slowly. Eye movement and perception are altered, possibly resulting in blurred vision. Night vision and color perception are also impaired.
  • tracking – the ability to judge the car’s position on the road, the location of other vehicles, center line, road signs, etc., can be adversely affected.
  • concentration – attention to driving may decrease and/or drowsiness may occur
  • comprehension – the depressant effect of alcohol hinders the ability to make rational decisions
  • coordination – the mechanics of driving can be affected by reduced eye/hand/foot coordination.

My friends, we will all have to get used to alcohol being on the menu. It’s already started and will only become more widespread.  Parents and teachers need to focus on educating and warning our children about all aspects of alcohol. This should not be a Bill of Rights issue. This should not be about a restriction of our freedoms. This is about our children; their premature exposure to a forbidden drug; the devastating and catastrophic effects of alcohol and driving under the influence, and the effect of alcohol on innocent victims. Is there anybody besides me that can see how ridiculous this is? 

 My friends, let me know your thoughts. Stay fit and healthy the Nerdel Way!

 Links: please check them out:

  1. *MADD: www.madd.org/statistics
  2. Driving and Alcohol: www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/cmed/alcohol/driving.htm
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