Few questions are very common in taxi industry and the one that is frequently raised to us by our passengers is: can we drink alcohol and carry open alcohol container while on ride?
Well, passengers are not allowed to drink and possess an open container of alcohol inside the vehicle in 41 states of the US including Georgia. It is illegal.
On the other hand, passengers can freely drink alcohol from open container while riding in eight states of the US—Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. Moreover, even driver is allowed to drink in Mississippi but the condition is that his/her BAC should remain below 0.08 per cent.
Similarly, the state law of Arkansas and West Virginia allows passengers to carry an open container of alcohol but they cannot drink inside the vehicle or on public highways.
The Transportation Equity Act for 21st Century (TEA-21) guides the laws of all these states and it should be followed strictly by both—passenger and driver. Besides few exceptions varying from state to state, this is what the laws read:
- Prohibit possession of any open alcoholic beverage container and the consumption of any alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle.
- Specify the passenger area of any motor vehicle – any area designed to seat the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in their seating positions, including the glove compartment.
- Apply to all alcoholic beverages.
- Apply to all occupants, including the driver and all passengers (with exceptions for a motor vehicle designed, maintained or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation (e.g., buses, taxis, limousines) and passengers in the living quarters of a house coach or house trailer.
- Specify on a public highway or the right-of-way of a public highway.
- Specify primary enforcement. Under a primary enforcement law, officers have the authority to enforce the law without the need to show that they had probable cause to believe that another violation had been committed.
**Point to consider**
The law of many states allows people to bring home unfinished wine purchased at a restaurant. It is an exception of open container law.