Open-container bill wouldn’t make roads safer, but it would make life more difficult for drivers
It’s a good thing that current open-container bill wasn’t law when I was a newspaper reporter. One of our photographers could have unwittingly broken law as we covered a story.
We joined two hilarious volunteers, a lawyer and a funeral-home director, for city-wide cleanup. Their mission: To become real garbagemen. They debated what to do with goopy trash bags they dubbed radioactive (“Real garbagemen aren’t afraid of nuclear waste.”) They poked fun at other volunteers (“Real garbagemen don’t have clean gloves.”)
Soon, their truck was heaping with trash. Then they saw another bag.
“Real garbagemen don’t drive past garbage,” passenger told driver.
The passenger jumped out of truck and grabbed bag. He couldn’t wedge it into truck bed, so he opened car door of photographer who was following them. He tossed bag on her front-seat floor.
Under open-container bill – House Bill 1057 – if there was just one empty beer can or bourbon bottle inside that bag, she could be ticketed.
It doesn’t matter that she was sober. It doesn’t matter that someone else put bag there without her consent. It doesn’t matter that she didn’t know bag’s contents. It doesn’t matter that she was hauling away litter. It doesn’t matter that her employer would have been tougher than any officer if she had been drinking while she was working.
All that matters under this bill is if there’s an open alcohol container in passenger compartment.
Once again, our legislature is leading us into Land of Unintended Consequences because it lacks sense and guts to do right thing, which is nothing.
Too bad. They had been holding firmly against this legislation long sought by federal government.
The federal government has extorted Hoosiers to tune of $20 million a year of highway taxes that our drivers have paid, just because it doesn’t like Indiana’s highway law. Never mind that pesky 10th Amendment, which says that powers not specifically designated by U.S. Constitution belong to states.
The Indiana General Assembly should have learned from its recent tour to Land of Unintended Consequences. A law that was passed in 2001 and went into effect this January required all food-serving establishments to employ licensed food handlers.