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Open container law now in effect

One of the primary objectives of the Colorado State Patrol has been to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes on Colorado’s roadways.Until recently, Colorado had no open container law. Prior to the new law, it was legal to be on a public highway with an open beer or other types of opened alcoholic beverages. Most towns and city municipalities in Colorado have had an open container ordinance in place for years. But effective July 1 of this year, it is illegal throughout Colorado to have open containers of alcohol in a motor vehicle on a public highway.The law states that when a motor vehicle is on a public highway, an open alcoholic beverage container – meaning a bottle, can or other receptacle containing any amount of alcohol that is open or the seal is broken and which the contents are partially removed – cannot be in the passenger area of the motor vehicle. The law specifically describes the passenger area as the area that seats the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in their seats, including but not limited to the glove compartment.There are exceptions and various situations in which open alcoholic containers are permissible in motor vehicles on public highways. This law does not apply to people riding in any vehicles designed specifically to transport passengers, such as limousines, ski or gaming buses, etc., unless you’re the driver or front-seat passenger in any of these vehicles. Another exemption would involve any passengers, other than the driver or a front-seat passenger, traveling in the living quarters of a house coach, house trailer or motor home.Although it is illegal to possess an open container if you are the driver or the front-seat passenger, it is acceptable to do so in the area behind the last upright seat of a vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk and in an area not normally occupied by the driver or a passenger in a motor vehicle.The open container law is one more tool for law enforcement to use in an effort to reduce drinking-and-driving incidents and to promote responsible driving overall. Safe roads should be a priority for all drivers on Colorado roadways. Drive safely and report suspected intoxicated drivers to Colorado State Patrol on your cell phones.

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