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Spanish Eyes, English Words

A blended blog - Spanish life and culture meets English freelancer who often gets mistaken for Spanish senora. It's the eyes that do it, rather than the command of the language. Anything can and probably will happen here.

Why the fuss about booze on the motorways? Spain's been doing it for years!
05 June 2013 @ 12:37

Anti-alcohol abuse, anti-drink driving and anti-enjoying yourself campaigners are getting their underwear in knots at the moment because J. D. Wetherspoon is set to open it's first dedicated motorway pub in the UK. To be fair, the pub won't be directly on the M40, it will be on a service road off the motorway, and Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin hopes it will be the first of many.

Of course, the Anti Brigade are forecasting huge increases in accidents caused by drink drivers, with the result that already inundated A & E departments will be filled to overflowing if they happen to be near a motorway. They want Wetherspoon's to refuse to serve alcohol to drivers, but Tim Martin sensibly dismisses this ridiculous request, making the point that village pubs don't ask their customers if they're driving before pulling a pint, so why should his staff act as Alcohol Police?

To be honest, the UK's laws about serving alcohol on motorways are totally outdated, and should have been scrapped years ago. In Spain and France, it's always been possible to have a glass of wine with your meal if you want to. In our travels between Spain and the UK, we've never seen a driver stagger back to a car, motor home or lorry after his leisurely lunch. That's probably because blood alcohol limits in Spain and France are lower than in the UK, and most drivers are responsible when it comes to drink driving.

People who want to drink and drive will do so whether they are able to buy alcohol on the motorway or not - they've probably got a cool box full of Carlsberg in the car on every trip. Banning pubs is depriving motorway users such as those on coach holidays or day trips the chance of a relaxing drink, just because a few irresponsible people may have a beer and then get back behind the wheel. It's using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and it's the Nanny State in action.

In fact, the presence of Wetherspoon's on the motorways could drive down prices at service stations. The last time I bought a pot of tea on the motorway, I suggested to the Manager that they should change the name of the joint to 'Dick Turpin's Service Area' - what they were charging for one teabag and some hot water amounted to nothing less than highway robbery. I've always made sure we carried a flask since then.

And Wetherspoon's meals may be basic, but they're good value, and freshly cooked. Your Wetherspoon's breakfast won't have sat swimming in oil for hours, and it won't cost you a fortune either. I for one think putting Wetherspoon's on the motorways of the UK is a great move for travellers. What do you think?


Like 0


sophie said:
05 June 2013 @ 13:07

Can not believe this is even being considered. Spain is a holiday destination for many tourists all over the world . And even then i don't think drink driving should be aloud

Sandra Piddock said:
05 June 2013 @ 13:58

Sophie, I don't agree with drink driving either, but my point is that banning the sale of alcohol on motorways won't stop people from drinking and driving.

Also, there seems to be a lack if joined up thinking here - nobody bans the sale of alcohol in village pubs and towns, and people drive in those places as well. People who intend to drink and drive will still do it, and luckily they're in a very tiny minority.

marcbernard said:
05 June 2013 @ 16:56

Sophie thinks that drinking and driving should be done quietly! (aloud - allowed)

mac75 said:
07 June 2013 @ 10:00

You don't see Spaniards crawling back to the car because the alcohol tolerance of an average Spaniard is way above average! :) Unfortunately drink driving in Spain is still a massive problem and I mean massive. The vast majority still drink and drive, although maybe they drink less than before, but I see it all the time, every day of the year. Alcohol in blood should be zero then that might get it through to the people that you shouldn't drink full stop if you are going to drive. These half measure of alcohol in blood levels just provokes confusing and unnecessary risks and bad judgement by consumers. However I am not against selling alcohol on the motorways, passengers can drink what they want!!

Bev said:
07 June 2013 @ 15:29

Driving down prices at service stations is a very good start, day light robbery! I agree that not everyone is driving on the motorways, so what about those that are being driven?

Louise D said:
08 August 2013 @ 15:31

Sophie, I'm confused. Are you saying that because Spain is a tourist destination, it's understandable that motorway eating places sell alcohol? If so, you seem to be suggesting that the UK is not a tourist destination.

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