RV Passengers Exempt Under Container Law

The in basket: My stepdaughter Ronda Armstrong passed along a question from her friend Riley Brazil, who wonders if the open container law regarding alcoholic beverages applies to people in the back of a motor home on the road.


The in basket: My stepdaughter Ronda Armstrong passed along a question from her friend Riley Brazil, who wonders if the open container law regarding alcoholic beverages applies to people in the back of a motor home on the road.
The out basket: I’d never been asked that before, but it’s a question troopers get a lot when they give safety talks, says Brian George, one of those troopers.
“Passengers who are in the living quarters of a motor home or camper are exempt under the open container law,” he said. “Passengers who are away from the driver may drink. ”
That would not extend to a passenger in the seat next to the driver, he said, and the demarcation line between where it would be permissible and where it would be illegal to have an open container in a motor home would be a judgment call for the law enforcement officer who makes the stop.
“The state patrol does not keep a stat on open containers as it relates to DUI arrests,” he added, “but in my time stopping vehicles I don’t recall too many times when a driver who had an open container was not impaired. 
“Troopers have stories of asking a driver to step from the vehicle for field sobriety tests when an open container falls onto the ground (first off the pants then onto the shoes). 
“On another note, I ran the stats for 2005. Sixty-two people were cited in Kitsap County for open container, and 27 in Mason County.” 
“This law would be enforced like the seat belt law, the passenger would be cited,” Brian said.
 

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