Haslam introduces bill to ban open booze in vehicles
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has introduced legislation seeking to ban any open alcohol bottles or cans in vehicles traveling on Tennessee roads.
Tennessee currently bans drivers from drinking 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 wants to change the law so that money can be spent on roads as part of his ambitious transportation funding initiative. But prosecutors and police worry that the money they received to target DUIs would be lost under the change.
The governor has said he would try to replenish those funds from the general fund but has not yet made a specific proposal.