The other night I was at a party and the topic of “open container laws” came up. I began to fire off my random Connecticut knowledge. What a lot of people don’t know is that Connecticut is one of the few states in the entire country that DOES allow passengers (as long as they’re over the age of 21) to drink while in the car. Yes, you can have open alcohol containers in your car as long as the driver is not the one drinking. (Duh.)
But since we are one of only a handful of states that have this ability, it regularly is debated and efforts are created to ban it. One of the reasons that it never passes this legislation is because, as proposed, the new law would require police to penalize the DRIVER if the passengers were drinking in the car. That means that the driver would be fined even though they aren’t the ones breaking the law. If you have volunteered to be the designated driver, you may not want to risk a fine to help your dumb drunk friends… and the state was concerned that it would discourage responsible drivers from volunteering.
Another argument that has been discussed is that creating this new law would give police officers the opportunity to search any vehicle they spotted with an open alcohol container. State officials voiced concern that this would contribute to racial profiling in the state. Interestingly enough, racial profiling has been a hot topic lately because a new study shows that Connecticut drivers are twice as likely to be stopped by police if they are a person of color. (More info here)
But before you open up a can of Coors Light and put your feet up on the dashboard, review exactly what Connecticut State Law says here.
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