Transporting open alcoholic beverage containers can be a complex and heavily regulated issue in various states across the United States. Each state has its own set of laws and regulations governing the transportation of open containers of alcohol within vehicles. Kansas law and K.S.A. 8-1599 have extremely archaic (my opinion) rules for transporting alcohol in your vehicle.
According to the Kansas Statutes Annotated, it is illegal for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of any motor vehicle, including the driver and passenger areas. The term “open container” refers to any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and has been opened, has a broken seal, or the contents of which have been partially removed.
Kansas law does provide some exceptions to this rule. The law does not apply to any open alcoholic beverage containers that are:
- In the trunk of the vehicle
- In a locked glove compartment or other locked non-passenger area of the vehicle
- In the area behind the last upright seat of the vehicle if it does not have a trunk
It is important to note that even if the above exceptions apply, the driver of the vehicle can still be held responsible if they are found to be under the influence of alcohol. Violations of these open container laws in Kansas can result in serious consequences. While transporting open containers is considered a misdemeanor, offenders may face fines, possible imprisonment, or both. Moreover, having an open container of alcohol within the vehicle may lead to suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), which can result in more severe legal consequences.
Today, in Kansas, you can purchase and transport alcoholic drinks from a drive-thru. But, state law still requires you to maintain the alcohol beverage away from the driver or passenger preferably in the trunk but at least away from any area that is occupied by the driver or other vehicle passenger. If you think that seems odd, I agree. But because of this, it is always advisable to avoid having open containers of alcohol within reach while operating a motor vehicle, regardless of the exceptions.
If you or someone you know has been pulled over while transporting an open container, please give me a call at 316-267-2000.