By Urban Anomie
Coffee cup lids are being blamed for a massive 783-vehicle accident on the QEII highway on Saturday, after a woman lost control of her SUV when she spilled scalding hot coffee on her hand and legs.
Irene Mitchell was cruising down the highway at legal speeds, when she ran over a twig laying on the road. It was then that her scorching double-double violently overflowed from her cup causing first-degree burns on her hand.
“The pain overwhelmed me,” recalls Mitchell, who survived the ordeal. “My hand opened automatically and the coffee cup dropped onto my lap, burning my legs.”
RCMP officials say Mitchell lost control of her vehicle and was rear-ended. Things snowballed from there.
“Vehicle after vehicle continued to slam into the one in front of it, until traffic was backed up for 80 kilometres,” said Cst. Todd Dare. “We’re fortunate everyone in Alberta drives an oversized truck or luxury SUV, otherwise we’d be looking at a much higher rate of fatalities.”
Indeed, only four people were taken to hospital after the event, and of those, three were in teeny cars designed for five-feet-tall Japanese women.
“Their cars crumpled like tinfoil amongst all those bigger vehicles,” said Dare.
Officers with the Alberta Department of Abominable Drivers (ADAD) were on hand to investigate the cause of the incident.
“Right now, it appears this whole thing could have been avoided if a certain Canadian doughnut chain’s lids actually did their job: to hold the liquid inside the cup,” said Tara Richards, chief inspector with ADAD. “Their lids are useless. I know this. The owners of 783 vehicles certainly know this. Everyone knows this.”
ADAD was commissioned in 2012, after the number of bad drivers in Alberta didn’t decrease when the use of cellphones was banned while operating a motor vehicle.
“We thought removing texting and Facebooking from the equation would eliminate a dangerous distraction from the equation,” said Richards. “We were wrong.”
Some think the problem of bad drivers is more elemental, such as Pete Marcus, who was involved in yesterday’s accident.
“You get rid of stupid people, and the problem of bad drivers goes away,” says Marcus.
But when questioned how one goes about getting rid of stupid people, Marcus was at a loss.
“I don’t know . . . maybe if we start sterilizing stupid people, all the stupid people will be weeded out in a few generations. Like Darwinism or something.”
Many coffee outlets use lids that do the job of keeping the liquid inside the cup while maintaining complete sipability, such as Starbucks, Waves, McDonalds, Second Cup . . . actually, every chain except Tim Hortons uses functional, safe coffee lids.