The 'day drinking' phenomenon - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

The 'day drinking' phenomenon

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -

Are more drivers hitting the bars way before happy hour -- and then hitting the road?

Shaken and served, and it's not even noon.

"Probably every day at least. I have a drink every day before noon," says 28-year-old Dianne Flanary. It's not uncommon for Flanary to be doing shots before lunch, day drinking at one of her favorite bars.

Doug McLenithan is general manager of Dos Gringos in Scottsdale, a well known patio or "day drinking" bar.

He describes day drinking as a mindset for people to come out early, have a few drinks and some fun.

"You're getting away with something. Maybe you're doing it during the day as opposed to the night time, so maybe that's the allure to it," says McLenithan.

The crowds of day drinkers grow as we enter fall -- nicer weather, televised sports -- reasons to start the party early. But a reason for some to drive drunk in broad daylight?

"This morning about 11:30 in the morning this car starts swerving all over the road…"

Angelo Gutierrez and his partner Cameron Nelson are local delivery guys.

Gutierrez shot video a few weeks ago of a driver he and Nelson suspected was drunk.

"We're telling the police he swerved over to the right originally and see now instead of going around the curve on Thunderbird exit he hit the wall," says Cameron Nelson.

Officer Lee Campbell is a traffic enforcement officer with the city of Scottsdale.

"Well my first thought would be why is a person not able to drive in a single lane."

Officer Campbell was not involved in stopping the white car in the video. He never spoke to the driver, but in his expert opinion something was wrong.

"A lot of these things are signs of or clues of impairment to me," says Campbell.

Officer Campbell has seen a dramatic valley wide increase of drunk drivers getting behind the wheel well before sundown.

Drunk drivers are more dangerous during the day because there are more people and more cars to run into, he says.

It's something that Scottsdale Police won't tolerate.

"We don't necessarily hold checkpoints during the day but we do have some of the best trained officers in the state that look for drivers that are impaired."

It's a good place to day drink, but don't expect to leave Dos Gringos in Scottsdale drunk and drive away. Managers and staff follow strict state guidelines to ensure that intoxicated patrons don't hit the road.

"We bring security on earlier now than probably we used to," says McLenithan.

As general manager, part of his job is to keep an eye out for day drinkers that take it too far. McLenithan makes sure cabs are called or that customers like Flanary find a safe way home.

Gutierrez and Nelson made a U-turn and returned to the Thunderbird exit but the car was gone. They're still on the road everyday, but now they keep a closer eye out for impaired drivers who travel along side them.

Police are also pulling over more and more drivers during the day high on prescription and or illegal drugs

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