If you don't travel from your home state a lot, it can be a little surprising to see how other states operate on the occasions you do.

"Huh," you might think. "I didn't know you could do that here."

It's part of what gives the United States its flavor, and you know what else has flavor? Booze! Let's talk about drinking for a second.


Here in New York state, you can pretty much get a DUI just by thinking about drinking and driving. But you might be surprised to learn that laws related to vehicular open containers are more lenient in some states. In fact, just a few hours from Central New York, your passenger can crack open a cold one on your road trip and it's perfectly legal. 


According to an article by Motor Biscuit, there are currently eight states that allow passengers to party down with an open container in a car:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

I'm looking at that list and thinking, wow, Connecticut's right there. You mean to tell me once I cross state lines, I can make my girlfriend take the wheel so I can crush a six pack?


Yes. Yes I can.

And to be clear, an open container could be a bottle of beer, flask, or a fifth of whiskey.

Having grown used to New York's stringent alcohol laws, that just came as a shock to me.

Of course, some of the states listed above have caveats in the wording of their laws that you might want to peruse before you start boozing on the highway. In Arkansas and West Virginia, for example, passengers cannot actually drink from their open container. They just won't be penalized for having one.


There's currently only one state in America where the driver can drink alcohol, and that's Mississippi. As long as they're not over the .08 blood alcohol level, it's fine.

Yikes. I guess if you find yourself in Mississippi... buckle up.

Check out more of the finer details about the open container laws in Motor Biscuit's article.  

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