Drinking alcohol while driving is still legal in three states – Indiana, Mississippi and Montana -as long as the driver is sober. In eight states – Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming – passengers may drink alcoholic beverages in a moving vehicle, says Stateline.org. Every other state strictly forbids open alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles. Lawmakers in the 14 states listed have given up millions in federal highway construction funding as their penalty for refusing to pass open container laws strict enough to meet federal requirements.
Such a ban was one of Montana Republican Gov. Judy Martz's highest priorities for this spring's legislative session. Despite the governor's personal lobbying, it became one of her worst defeats. Martz's bill got stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee, so passing it on the floor required a super-majority of 60 out of 100 votes. It lost last month by 48-50, failing to even gain a majority despite a direct personal appeal from the governor.