An open casket is for a last chance to say good by, and for closure. Many people are in denile until they see the body in the casket. As for pictures, in the old days pictures were so expensive, thats the only time most people took a pic of someone to remember. To this day my family still takes pictures of our family in the casket. Really nice to remember the service and gives a chance for other family/friends to get a chance to see it if they could not make it.
People forget that the open casket viewing is something that has been around for thousands of years. If it wasn't valuable, it would have been gone long ago. It was really during the Egyptian times that caskets and viewing started. There is a valid reason why we do almost everything in the funeral homes today. Most of the tradtitions we have, including visitations, funeral processions, flowers, and burials have proven helpful in the grief and mourning process. Most people who are not in the funeral business feel that funeral homes do things that are only profitable.....this is far from the truth.
If a drive-thru viewing helps people, then I am all for it. I see advantages to it, including the elderly staying in thier cars to view a friend, more opportunity for people to view because the viewing could take place during longer time periods with less suprervision, not to mention less wear and tear on the funeral home carpets!