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Before taking an RV trip, you pack the items you’ll need for the adventure that lies ahead. Your prep list might include filling the RV kitchen with snacks to fuel you along the road. You might feel the need to stock the fridge with some refreshing alcoholic beverages for drinking in the RV.
Before you do, take a look at the RV drinking laws below.
Can You Drink in a Moving RV?
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Many RV enthusiasts enjoy relaxing with a cold one in the comfort of their motorhome. If you’re parked at a campsite that allows alcohol, you’re free to enjoy responsibly! But what about other scenarios?
You’re not the first RV rider to wonder, “can you drink in an RV?” Because an RV feels like a home on wheels, drinking inside may seem like a comfortable and acceptable activity. However, when an RV is on the road, it is subject to certain open container laws.
Read on to get familiar with the RV drinking laws.
Drinking and driving is considered a criminal offense. There is no circumstance in which the driver of an RV should be consuming alcohol. In light of this, most states prohibit alcohol from being present in the driver and passenger area.
Arkansas law, for example, states that to avoid breaking open container laws, passengers should ensure that “the open alcoholic beverage container is not readily accessible to the driver of the motor vehicle.” Many states have similar specifications and consider the glovebox or front area of the motorhome off-limits for alcohol containers.
Can You Drink in an RV as a Passenger?
It’s clear that the driver should not be drinking in a moving vehicle. But what are the laws when it comes to passengers drinking in an RV?
This depends on the location of the passenger. If you are in the front seat next to the driver, the answer is no. The majority of states explicitly state that open alcoholic beverages should not be in front of the vehicle.
Much like RV seat belt laws, open container laws differ across states and even county lines. Currently, 40 states and Washington D.C. forbid the possession and consumption of open alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle.
This includes the driver and the passenger in a motorhome. However, the law does not always extend to the living quarters of a mobile home, so drinks can be stored in this area.
For instance, Texas law states that “the living quarters of a motorized house coach or motorized house trailer, including a self-contained camper, a motor home, or a recreational vehicle,” are not included in the law against open containers of alcohol in vehicles.
In this case, passengers in the living quarters are not explicitly barred from drinking in an RV. Still, many RVers make the wise choice to store away all alcohol while the vehicle is on the road. There are other ways to liven up the trip, like fun RV games that everyone can join in on.
Most states include some provision like the one in Texas within their body of law. But some do not list campers and RVs as an exception to the rule. To understand what’s required of passengers in your vehicle, be sure to examine the open container laws in the states you’re planning to visit.
4 Important RV Alcohol Facts
Some states, like Florida and Louisiana, base their RV drinking laws around vehicle length. In both states, passengers in the back of a moving RV can only consume alcohol if the RV is greater than 21 feet long.
Dry counties are areas of the country in which the sale of alcohol is illegal. There are dry counties in multiple states, including Florida, Texas, Kansas and more. It is wise to check the full list of dry counties and townships to determine whether you can transport alcohol across certain county lines.
There are certain states with strict open container laws that don’t allow passengers in the back seat to consume alcohol. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation states, “Open container laws apply to all motor vehicles, including motorhomes and pickup campers…”
Keeping passengers away from alcohol while the vehicle is in motion is the logical course of action. If an officer pulls an RV driver over and sees or smells evidence of open containers, they have the right to search the vehicle. Even if the officer finds no violations, this is an unpleasant situation that is avoidable.
Cheers to a Wonderful RV trip
Spending time out on the open road in your RV is a beautiful experience. While traveling to the next destination, always be cognizant of the road rules, including open container laws. Operating within the bounds of RV alcohol laws keeps you and your loved ones safe.
Your one-stop-shop for RV rentals, purchases and must-know RV information is Cruise America. Check out the Cruise America Blog for more helpful tips about RV travel. And consider one of our comfortable homes on wheels for your next adventure.
Have some good, clean fun on your RV trip!