An effort to make it a crime for a sober driver to have an open container of alcohol within reach, in the vehicle, has been sidetracked in the State Senate. Senators say the idea just goes too far – the prosecution ofpeople who possess an open container of alcholic beverage in a vehicle on a state highway or right of way. Sponsor Morris Westfall of Halfway says it’s an effort to keep drivers from becoming drunk on the road, as well as an effort to keep $10-million in federal money from being taken away from state road-building programs. But Columbia senator Ken Jacob says it makes no sense to arrest a soberdriver because somebody else in the car is drinking a legal beverage. Westfall shelved his bill when an amendment was added saying nobody could be arrested for having an open container in the vehicle unless that person exceeded the blood alcohol level for drunkenness.
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