Is It Legal for Passengers to Drink Alcohol in a Moving RV?

When setting out on the open road with your family or friends in your RV, it’s natural for your passengers to want to keep themselves busy. Some of them might want to play games or sleep, while others may want to relax with a nice cold beer or glass of wine. But is that legal? Are RV passengers allowed to drink alcohol in a moving RV?

Can your passengers drink alcohol while riding in an RV?

RV Parked In Desert
RV Parked In Desert | Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Considering it’s illegal to have an open container in a car in most states, you would think that it’s completely illegal in the case of an RV. However, Drivin’ & Vibin’ reports that the definitive answer is a “maybe.” That’s because it really depends on which state you’re in since all 50 states have different laws regarding the issue. That being said, there are certain factors that come into play when determining whether a passenger in a moving RV can drink alcohol legally.

The location of the passenger in the RV is important

Music fans play drinking games in the RV park during 2016 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at Empire Polo Club.
Music fans play drinking games in the RV park during 2016 Stagecoach California’s Country Music Festival at Empire Polo Club. | (Matt Cowan/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

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While it’s clear that the driver should never drink while driving, the passenger drinking while riding is a different story. According to Cruise America, it really depends on where the passenger, or passengers, are located in the RV while it’s moving. Obviously, if the passenger is near the driver – and the alcohol is within arm’s reach – then the answer is “no.”

Overall, there are currently 40 states (and Washington D.C.) that don’t allow the consumption and/or possession of alcohol in a moving vehicle. However, in states like Texas, a passenger is allowed to be in the rear of the RV and have an open container. But in Wisconsin, that same passenger is not allowed to drink whether or not they’re located in the front or back of the RV.

Another factor in some states is the length of the RV that you’re driving. Drivin’ & Vibin’ reports that the “magic number seems to be 21 feet.” For example, states like Louisiana and Florida allow passengers to drink alcohol if the motorhome is at least 21 feet long. However, other states don’t have laws regarding the length of the RV.

But if your passengers really want to have a drink while you’re all trucking down the road, then it would be helpful if you’re driving through Mississippi. That state doesn’t have any laws regarding the possession of an open container, nor do the six states that do not prohibit the passenger from drinking – those states include Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia.

What’s the final verdict?

During a police check focusing on motorhomes and caravans, a motorhome is checked by police
During a police check focusing on motorhomes and caravans, a motorhome is checked by police. | (Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)

As we can see, the final verdict in whether or not passengers can drink alcohol in a moving RV is a big fat “maybe.” There are different laws in different states and sometimes, it depends on how long your RV is. Ultimately, it’s really up to you and your passengers as to whether or not it’s safe to drink while driving an RV. However, as always, it’s usually better to be on the safer side of the law if you’re not entirely sure.

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