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To Drive or Not to Drive to the Astros’ Game

Mark Thiessen
To Drive or Not to Drive to the Astros’ Game

Well, it’s here. The boys of summer are back in town and the seventh inning is about to end. You know what that means—last call for beer! You indulge in that last $10 of glorious light beer and then it hits you—you’re drunk. You may start asking yourself lots of questions. What is the legal alcohol limit in Texas? Are you really sure you’re up for driving home drunk? Here’s what to do if you find yourself a little over the edge and unsure if you should or shouldn’t make the drive home.

Driving Home Drunk Is Dangerous

Knowing how to avoid drunk driving is worth it. Why? Houston is big. No—Houston is very big. In a city where the average person spends collectively an hour and a half commuting to and from work, it’s obvious that not everyone is going to live a hop and a skip away from Minute Maid Park.

Especially when one considers how spread out our awesome city is, it’s probably safe to assume that most people will spend about the same amount of time commuting to and from the Astros game as they were to attend. That’s a long time to be driving home drunk. And look, I understand—this city has been buzzing ever since George Springer and Jose Altuve ignited this city last October, but that doesn’t mean it is legal to drive home buzzed or drunk from the games.

History of the 7th Inning Cut-Off

The concept to stop alcohol sales after the 7th inning was actually implaced to prevent another problem the MLB was facing with fans over-consuming alcohol—violent and unruly fans. Surprisingly, helping fans learn how to avoid drunk driving wasn’t the goal.

In the early 2000s, the MLB decided to ban alcohol consumption after the seventh inning as an effort to create a safer atmosphere for families and young children. They hoped it would slow down the heavy drinkers and give the fans more time to sober up, especially during the last hour or so of the game when tensions can be particularly high.

Unintentional Consequences: Driving Home Drunk

Although the 7th inning cut-off has had some positive influence on creating safer ballparks, there were a few unintentional consequences of the new policy. Drinkers will have their drinks. Always have. Always will. So when the 7th inning cut-off policy was put in place, most stadiums just saw a surge in the 6th and 7th inning sales.

Now, people were ordering two and three beers during the middle of the 7th inning, for instance, to hold them off through the rest of the game. Instead of spending the last hour or so sobering up before making the drive home, fans were spending it sipping up every last ounce of their overpriced beer. The result? More fans driving home drunk as the alcohol hits them later.

How to Avoid Drunk Driving

Driving home drunk can be a costly mistake. Without adequate time to sober up, everyone is at risk of getting a DWI when they drink and drive. If you’ve fallen victim to having one too many beers during the 6th or 7th inning at an Astros game and you aren’t sure if you are good to drive, you probably aren’t. The very fact that you’re even thinking about it tells you that you’re probably doubting your sobriety.

The best thing to do in this situation is—well, you guessed it—wait. If there isn’t a designated driver or sober friend of some sort, letting time pass and giving your body adequate time to sober up is the only thing that will help keep you out of harm’s way.

What Are the Consequences of Drinking and Driving?

Don’t be fooled by drunk driving myths. If you don’t avoid drunk driving, the odds are that you will eventually face DWI charges in Texas. The penalties of a DWI in Houston range from fines and DWI license suspension in Texas to probation and jail time in the most serious of instances.

Did you bring Junior to the game as well? Even more reason to be smart. A DWI with a child in the car in Texas is among those serious instances. So, waiting an hour or two to sober up really isn’t all that bad.

An even better method for avoiding a DWI after an Astros game is to not overindulge. Be conscious of how much you’ve had to drink. If you’re actively tracking how many beers you’ve had, recognize that they’re most likely being served in pints rather than 12-ounce pours, so you may be taking in more alcohol than you think—even if it is only a Bud Light.

The fact remains that most of us enjoy drinking beer. Hell, I know I do. That being said, there’s no excuse for being an impaired driver that could ultimately cause an accident and injure others, nor is it worth dealing with the potential legal consequences associated with a DWI charge. Always think twice before getting in the car after consuming alcohol, and GO STROS!

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