Effort To Ban Open Alcohol Containers In Cars Dead For Year

Posted at 8:42 AM, Apr 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-18 09:42:03-04

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to ban open alcohol bottles or cans in vehicles traveling on Tennessee roads has failed for the year.

Tennessee currently bans drivers from drinking alcohol while at the wheel, but does not extend that prohibition to passengers. That conflicts with federal open container guidelines, which causes about $18 million in federal road money to be redirected toward drunken-driving enforcement.

Haslam called for changing the law so the lost funds could be spent on road and bridge projects across the state, and pledged to find funding for previously dedicated to prosecutors from other sources.

But Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris says he abandoned the bill because of lack of support from his colleagues and because it was a "distraction" to the governor's larger transportation funding proposal.