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Container law effective Aug. 1

As of Tuesday, August 1, 2000, it is illegal in Alabama to drink an alcoholic beverage while driving or riding in a car, truck or sport utility vehicle.

The new container law went into effect as of Tuesday and a person does not have to be drunk to receive the citation.

If cited for the new offense, the fine will be $25, with no court costs incurred on those charged with the infraction. That is the same penalty for not wearing a seat belt while operating an automobile.

No points will be added to the driving records of those who get fined for violation of the law either.

The new law does more than prohibit drinking in a motor vehicle.

For instance, if the lid or cork is placed back onto a container still containing alcohol and placed in the car, those inside the car could still be fined. The seal on the bottle must not be broken, according to the law.

Any vehicle, whether running or parked, falls under the new law if it is on a public road or right-of-way. There are several exceptions to the new law:

*The law does not apply to parked cars that are not on the right-of-way or shoulder of a public road, making tailgaters in designated areas exempt.

*Passengers riding in motor homes or buses are also exempt from the law.

*The law does not apply to anyone who is inside a parked vehicle with the motor turned off if not on a public right of way or road.

*Also exempt are alcoholic containers which are stored in a vehicle's trunk, luggage compartment, cargo compartment or truck bed.