Open container law back up in Tennessee legislature

BRISTOL, Tenn. - If you're riding in a car in Tennessee, legally, you're allowed to have an open container of alcohol. A state lawmaker is trying to change that.

This week Bristol's Republican Representative Jon Lundberg will bring his "Pass the Bottle" law back up in the legislature. This will be the seventh time he's tried to get the law changed.

Lundberg told us having open containers in cars is a safety risk.

"Usually the driver is drinking," he said. "They get pulled over and they go, 'Here hold on to this.'"

Lunberg said this costs Tennessee about six lives every year.

He told us it also causes the state to lose out on millions of dollars of federal funding.

"If you look over the past 20 years, we've lost upwards of $40-50 million," Lundberg said. "That's a huge amount of money."

The United States Department of Transportation says states should have open container laws. If they don't, the government takes away funds that would go toward fixing roads and puts them toward anti- drunk driving efforts in those states.

"We can't use those funds to build roads, bridges and we don't get it all we leave huge amount, millions of dollars every year," Lundberg said.

He told us this is a bipartisan bill that would bring money back to the state, and make the roads safer.

Lundberg said the bill could go to the House floor as early as March and be signed into law by April.

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