On this past Tuesday morning, while driving in Gloucester, famed Chef Barbara Lynch was involved in a motor vehicle accident, striking a parked car. The police arrived on the scene and Lynch failed sobriety tests and registered nearly twice the legal limit on a breathalyzer. She was subsequently arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. It could have been much worse.
We will probably never know all the facts surrounding this incident. Most likely, Lynch will plead out to the charges, without the necessity of a trial. That is a very common occurrence in such incidents. We will probably never know how much alcohol Lynch consumed, and won't understand why she chose to drive after consuming all of that alcohol. Let us hope that this arrest is a wake-up call for Lynch, who won't ever drink and drive again.
Her arrest provides a fascinating cautionary tale for everyone who might consider drinking and driving. And it also provides a glimpse into the culinary world and the problem of substance abuse.
My own advice on drinking and driving is very simple.
If you've had too much alcohol to drink, if there is any doubt in your mind, don't drive.
This is an absolutely vital issue for everyone who enjoys alcohol of any type, from wine to beer, from Scotch to hard cider. During the summer, there are plenty of parties and barbecues, picnics and beach outings, and there is the potential for people to over indulge, to drink too much at these events. There is nothing wrong with that, and you can drink as much as you desire, as long as you give up your keys to someone who is sober.
As I've said multiple times before, and which I'll repeat year after year, "If there is any question, no matter how small, whether you are too intoxicated to drive, then don't. If your family or friends think you have had too much to drink, don't drive. Just don't. It is not worth the risk by any calculation." Err on the side of caution so that if you have any doubt of your capacity to drive, then please do not drive. Take a taxi or Uber, catch a ride with someone else, walk or sleep it off. Just don't drive!
Rationally, we all know the dangers of drinking and driving. We endanger our own lives as well as the lives of others. Every year, we hear multiple news reports about terrible auto accidents, some with fatalities, that occur because a driver was intoxicated. Families are torn apart, lives are ruined, and much more. Why don't we learn from all these incidents? Even if you don't get in an accident, you might get arrested for drunk driving, with all the attendant high costs, and not just economic. You might even end up in jail.
About 17,000 people are arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts each year. That is a huge figure, showing that far too many people still don't understand that they should not drink and drive. Each time you drink and drive, you endanger yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and people in other vehicles. Let someone else drive you, whether it be a friend or family. Take an Uber or public transportation. Leave your car where it is parked as you can always pick it up the next day. You have plenty of options so there is absolutely no reason to drink and drive. Be responsible.
I don't want to lose any family or friends this year due to a drunk driving accident. I don't think anyone wants to lose their loved ones either. Your family and friends would rather you didn't drink and drive as they don't you to die in a terrible drunk driving accident. So please just don't!
As for the issue of substance abuse in the restaurant industry, that is an important topic for another time.