Ask a Trooper: What is the proper technique for zipper lanes?

Question: Can you explain what is considered an open bottle violation here in Minnesota?

Answer:  Minnesota law says that it is a crime for a person to drink or consume an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle when the vehicle is upon a street or highway.

It is also a crime for a person to have in possession, while in a private motor vehicle upon a street or highway, any bottle or receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or the seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.

Possession means either that the person had actual possession of the bottle or receptacle or that the person consciously exercised dominion and control over the bottle or receptacle. 

Roadway means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel including the shoulder.

Minnesota’s enhanced DWI enforcement and education efforts have been factors in the continued reduction of alcohol-related deaths. Still, drunk driving remains a serious threat on our roads, contributing to 84 deaths in 2018. 

Commit to a Sober Ride 

•Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location   of the celebration. 

•Speak Up – Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.

•Buckle up — the best defense against a drunk driver.

•Report drunk driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

SGT. NEIL DICKENSON is Minnesota State Patrol Public Information Officer for the state’s northeast region. Send questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues to neil.dickenson@state.mn or by mail to Minnesota State Patrol, 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth MN 55811. Follow Dickenson on Twitter at @MSPPIO_NE . 

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