3:00 PM EST, February 22, 2011
They may look like McDonald's drive-thrus, but motorists pulling up to these windows aren't buying hamburgers or french fries. They're buying booze! And it's legal!
Hard to believe, but in states like Louisiana and Texas, drive-thru stands specialize in selling daiquiris and other alcoholic drinks to drivers.
Inside the drive-thrus are rows of machines that look like they're dispensing slushees. But they're actually pumping out pre-mixed alcoholic concoctions in all flavors like electric lemonade, pina coladas, jungle juice, and margaritas. They even sell shots of liquor. And surprisingly it's all perfectly legal for drivers to purchase these cocktails as long as they don't drink them while behind the wheel.
In one weekend in New Orleans, we watched dozens of drivers making daiquiri pit-stops and then driving off sipping their cocktails from a straw.
We spotted one couple grabbing afternoon cocktails filled with vodka at a daiquiri drive-thru. We followed the driver and watched him sip the drink while stopped at a red light.
After watching him drive erratically at over 70MPH on the freeway, INSIDE EDITION'S Chief Investigative Correspondent, Lisa Guerrero, had a few questions for the driver when he finally reached his destination.
"Are you comfortable with drinking and driving sir?" asked Guerrero.
The driver didn't respond.
INSIDE EDITION also witnessed another driver who didn't even make it out of the parking lot before he started drinking a daiquiri he ordered with an extra shot of Bacardi. We followed him through one busy intersection after another while he kept sipping his drink.
Unbelievably this driver's final destination was a nearby playground. He had a child riding in the back seat the entire time. And even though we heard him order an alcoholic daiquiri, the driver told us it was non-alcoholic.
"It's a virgin," said the driver.
"Really," responded Guerrero, "you're trying to tell me that's a virgin daiquiri?"
The driver then got back in his car and prepared to take off.
"Excuse me," yelled Guerrero at the woman who was putting the child back in the car. "Are you sure your child should be in that car? He's been drinking and your putting a child in that car."
The owners of these drive-thru bars say they abide by the law and insist they don't encourage people to drink and drive. But that's exactly what we found customers doing.
We had a few questions for one of the managers at the daiquiri stands but he wasn't happy to see us.
"You're serving alcohol to people in their cars. Don't you think this is dangerous?" asked Guerrero.
"It's legal," replied the manager before walking away.
We showed our video to Laura Dean-Mooney, the president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
"When you allow alcohol to be delivered through a window of a vehicle, you're opening the door for a disaster," said Dean-Mooney.