For a nation so enthralled with headlines that begin with, “A Florida Man…” we don’t often stop to think about why the Sunshine State seems to have the “best” news stories. Granted, if Florida was a fictional state, we’d all feel better when we laugh at the news, but, Florida is a real state that gets a pretty bad reputation. Could that reputation be related to the state’s drinking laws?
Florida doesn’t seem to be encouraging responsible drinking habits. Virginia, for instance, has recently relaxed some of its “Happy Hour” advertising laws, making it okay for restaurants and bars to announce drink specials within specific guidelines. Florida, on the other hand, has no problem with a bar that offers specials like “Drink ‘til You Drop” – money-earning, binge drinking extravaganzas that may just be a factor in why Florida headlines are so sensational; too much alcohol obviously leads to bad decisions… and those bad decisions are what make the Florida headlines so captivating.
Unfortunately, binge drinkers fortified by those drink specials can quickly cause a drunk driving accident, face a car breathalyzer or ignition interlock requirement, and even harm others. In that case, profit may be prevailing over common sense and victims of these bad decisions are paying the highest price.
Binge drinking is unhealthy; it leads to plenty of problems for the drinker and those in their path of intoxication. If a state doesn’t discourage a person from taking those risks with alcohol, that state is essentially encouraging binge drinkers, drunk drivers, and the “Florida Man” headline of the day. Florida may be a state for a dream vacation, but, it is still a real place with real people who are injured each day by drunk drivers. Maybe discouraging binge drinking bar specials would help put an end to the temptation to be the next Florida headline superstar.