Proposed bill could ban ‘drinking while riding’ in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Later this month, the Metro Nashville Council will consider a bill to ban drinking alcohol while riding in a vehicle.

The bill could largely impact Nashville’s transportainment industry, which is a huge draw for tourists. The bill would ban anyone from having open containers of alcohol while riding in a moving vehicle in Davidson County. Open container laws are already in effect in 39 states.

Tennessee cities have the authority to ban the activity under state law.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states with these bans have fewer drunk driving deaths.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports the ban and said it could save lives. The group reported a 20% increase in driving fatalities since the pandemic began, including in Tennessee.

“Since the pandemic, we’ve actually seen an increase in a rise across the state of Tennessee, when it comes to drunk driving fatalities. Across the nation, we’ve seen about a 20% increase, and there’s actually sadly, some areas and location that have seen a higher increase than that. So anytime that we have the opportunity to make sure that lives are being saved, and we are being responsible, that’s what’s important. Matt has never been against the smell of alcohol. What mad stands for is the fact that we simply do not wish for someone to be driving while intoxicated,” explained Phaedra Marriott-Olson with MADD.

The bill is sponsored by Councilmember Sean Parker, who said he’s been considering sponsoring the bill for some time. He believes alcohol in vehicles is contributing to violent road rage and littering issues.

“I have heard feedback from some of the transport tainment industry folks. And you know, to them, I mean, my answer is, you know, there’s cities that don’t allow alcohol consumption on motor vehicles that have thriving transportation industries. Now, of course, you would have to adjust and nobody’s happy about adjusting, but how it works in a lot of cities is the transportation of vehicles will go from bar to bar, almost like a bar tour type thing, and the passengers get off and they go get a drink, and then they come back on, and then they go tour around and, and do their thing and have fun. And so that exists in a lot of other cities. And and I think that, it would, of course, be an adjustment, but it’s it’s certainly not looking to put anybody out,” said Sean Parker, Metro Nashville Council.

The bill to ban drinking while riding is up for a second vote in November. The Metro Council must approve it three times before the bill would head to Mayor Cooper’s desk.

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