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Conn. Considering Ban On Drinking While Riding In A Car

Andy Dean
AP Images

In the state of Connecticut, it's currently legal to have an open container of alcohol in a moving car, and even to drink from it. As long as you're not the driver.

In allowing that, the state's in select company. Only 10 other states permit "drunk riding," including Mississippi, where you can actually drink and drive, as long as you stay below the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent.

But one Connecticut lawmaker thinks that's dubious company for the state. Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) proposed a bill that would prohibit open containers in cars on the state's roads. He says they make it a lot more likely the driver will end up drinking, even if they're supposed to be a designated driver.

"Face it, there are people out there who live on the edge of the law," Bolinsky said. "And they might be in the driver's seat, and might be passed a bottle of something. Not every designated driver is pure of heart."

Bolinsky said the bill makes an exception for limousines, party buses, or other commercial vehicles designed for allowing passengers to drink safely.

"We're not trying to reach out and remove anybody's livelihood in the process," Bolinsky said. "All we're trying to do is make sure private motor vehicles are operated safely by people who are stone cold sober and don't have the distraction of folks who are literally partying around them."

The bill went before a public hearing last week, where family members of those lost in drunk driving accidents spoke emotionally in favor. The nationwide organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving has said it supports the bill. At the hearing, House Chair of the Transportation Committee Antonio Guerrera said he didn't see an issue with passengers drinking as long as drivers don't drink.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.