Yet another attempt to pass an “open container” law for Tennessee highways has been shot down at the state legislature. It is the sixth year in a row the bill has failed.
Currently a driver can not legally drink, but passengers can. Without an open container law, the driver can simply hand off his drink when pulled over by police.
The House State and Local Government Subcommittee voted 2 to 2 on the bill today, with five members failing to vote at all.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott wanted the bill as a weapon against drunk driving.
“I’m for anything that keeps alcohol out of vehicles. People have to remember that driving is a privilege, and not a right, in this state. For us to neglect the fact that drinking and driving affects our life and innocent people on the roads, I think, is irresponsible.”
A state transportation official says failure to pass the law costs Tennessee about $17 million in federal funds that would be spent on roads and bridges. The state does not completely forgo the money, instead it must be spent on highway safety programs, such as the “Booze It and Lose It” advertising campaign.