CRESTVIEW — According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website’s most recent data, 27 percent of Florida's total traffic deaths result from drunk driving.
Considering that people often drive to establishments to drink, what is the best way to ensure that one stays safe?
Brian Hughes, the spokesman for the Crestview Police Department, said, “The best recommendation would be for people who intend to drink to arrange for a designated driver who abstains from alcoholic beverages to be with them and do the driving that evening.”
But what happens when the designated driver unintentionally gets drunk?
This happened Friday, Aug. 4 to Baker resident Holly Davis, who went to the Crestview Hooters on Cracker Barrel Drive with friends. When she realized she drank too much, Davis left her car in the parking lot. When she returned the next morning, she noticed that it had been towed.
“When we contacted the towing company, they told us it would cost $268 to get the vehicle and couldn't get it until Sunday," she wrote to the News Bulletin. "We drove through their parking lot and found there are no signs saying you can't park overnight.”
A News Bulletin reporter’s observation of the Hooters parking lot confirmed that there were no “No Parking” signs posted in the lot.
Phillip Robinson, the director of operations at Hooters, said Davis’ car had been towed the following morning because a car show was scheduled in the lot and their vehicle was “parked in the middle of where the show would take place.”
He added, “I don’t think that anybody in the world expects someone in this situation to park their car overnight, but we do have responsibility. In the world that we live in, we are responsible vendors, I would hope that the customer would come to us and say, ‘Hey, we are going to leave the green Mazda 626 in the parking lot, is that okay?’
"And the manager would have said, ‘Hey, can you move your car over to the side because we have a car show in the morning?’ But the reality is that it is private property with public access.”
Since then, Robinson has agreed to reimburse Davis $268 for the towing expense, but according to the CPD, it was well within management’s rights to tow the vehicle.
"Private property owners have the total right to tow vehicles left on their property without their permission," Crestview Police Operations Division Cmdr. Andrew Schneider said.
And although it is always advisable to have a designated driver, in those instances — like Davis’ — when all parties become too inebriated to drive, requesting permission for extended parking is a good idea.
CPD Investigator Chaise Rawles says, "Talk to the property owner and get permission to leave your car there."