Is It Legal To Drink While Going Through A Car Wash?

February 2, 2016

I have a black SUV. I only say this to illustrate the fact that this behemoth, which serves no practical purpose in my childless life, gets filthy as soon as the dense particulate that we call air in West Texas touches it. So I go to the car wash. A lot. The thing is, the car wash I frequent is right next to a liquor store, which I also patronize. I particularly like to grab a six-pack of some overpriced uppity swill and then hit the wash. So here’s my question: Assuming the car wash is cool with it—and I don’t imagine the community college potheads working there would care—is it illegal to drink, and finish, my numbing elixir while going through the car wash tunnel? Am I drinking and driving?

A quick checklist for your last question:

Am I drinking? Yes, you are drinking.

Am I driving? Given that a car wash is like that amusement park ride you loved when you were seven where you got to steer an antique car along a giant guardrail, yes, you are also driving.

Congratulations. You are “drinking and driving,” which is a meaningless phrase in the eyes of Texas law.

Now, to the question you’re really asking: Am I breaking any Texas law by drinking a six-pack of crisp lager in my giant black SUV (which is totally the wrong color SUV for the punishing Texas sun, by the way) while going through a car wash?

Read the rest of the column here at Deadspin.

Illustration by Sam Woolley.

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