Because laws on driving while intoxicated are strictly enforced, most Americans are aware of the consequences of drinking in an automobile. However, the rules are a bit different when it comes to recreational vehicles, and it’s important for RV drivers and passengers to understand the specifics. The Chula Vista RV insurance experts at American Tri-Star examine California’s laws on drinking inside motor vehicles and how RVs factor into the equation.
Beginning in the 1980s, groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving succeeded in changing federal and state laws to take the national problem of drunk driving more seriously. According to the California Bureau of Criminal Statistics, drunk driving has been illegal in California since 1911. However, new laws passed in the 1980s set stricter definitions of drunk driving and made it easier for prosecutors to convict drivers who violated these laws. Under these laws, any driver found to have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08 could be charged and convicted with the crime of driving under the influence. These stricter laws made it illegal for drivers to drink while operating a vehicle, no matter whether they were intoxicated or not. Accordingly, drivers also cannot legally drink while operating an RV.
The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, a law passed by Congress in 1998 and signed into law by President Clinton, required states to pass laws that ban all open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles. The prohibition on open containers extends to those possessed by passengers. However, states were given discretion to make exemptions, including to RVs. In accordance with this provision, the California Vehicle Code specifically states open containers are permitted in the living quarters of a housecar or camper, which includes RVs. Because of this exception, it is legal for people aged 21 and over to drink in an RV in California, provided the drinking takes place in the RV’s cabin and the person drinking the alcoholic beverage does not get behind the wheel while under the influence.
Much like drinking and driving is considered an unwise decision, so is driving without the appropriate insurance. To learn about the affordable RV and car insurance Chula Vista residents prefer, give us a call at 619-827-0522 and one of our knowledgeable agents would be happy to answer your questions and provide a complimentary quote.