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Will Taco Bell Cantinas be reason for concern in Virginia?

If you like to follow the news like we do, then you may have already heard about Taco Bell’s new restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, that offers a unique menu item: alcohol. The first of its kind in the world, the Taco Bell Cantina offers fast-food eaters a chance to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with their meal. For those willing to pay the additional cost, spirits such as tequila or rum may also be added to a beverage such as the restaurant’s signature slushees.

Though there is only one Taco Bell Cantina location at present time, restaurant owners do intend on opening other locations in other states. There is already one planned to open in California in the near future. This begs the question: Will a Taco Bell Cantina location open up here in Virginia? And if so, will residents in our state have any reason for concern?

As frequent readers of our blog know, our state has some rather strict drunk driving laws. For many restaurant goers, drunk driving can be avoided because meals at sit down restaurants typically take longer to complete. But at fast-food restaurants, meals are designed to be made and consumed quickly, which may increase a person’s chances of driving while intoxicated.

As you can imagine, along with an increased risk of accidental drunk driving also comes an increased risk of drunk driving accidents. Unlike in other states though, Virginia does not have any statutes that hold restaurant institutions liable for these types of crashes. The absence of dram shop laws means harsher consequences for those accused of drinking and driving because they now take full liability for their actions.

Though Virginians may not see a Taco Bell Cantina location for quite some time, it’s a possibility that one could appear down the road. The hope is that by this time, the restaurant’s owners, as well as our state legislators, will take the full extent of drunk driving consequences into consideration and make appropriate changes to company policies and the law. These changes could greatly help residents avoid making a terrible mistake they could regret for the rest of their life.

Sources: NPR, “Pushing To Attract Millennials, Taco Bell Will Offer Beer And Wine,” Brakkton Booker, Sept. 15, 2015

The National Conference of State Legislatures, “Dram Shop Civil Liability and Criminal Penalty State Statutes,” Updated June 14, 2013, Accessed Sept. 29, 2015

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