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Old 04-07-2008, 08:34 PM   #1
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This question came up over the weekend and I wanted to ask the board if anyone knows the official answer.
If you were taking some friends to dinner at a restaurant and the ladies/gents who were passengers wanted to have a glass of wine or a beer while riding to the restaurant, would that be a legal thing to do in Florida? (Of COURSE the driver would NOT be participating and there would be no beverage within his reach other than a bottle of water!!)
I found that FS 316.1936 seems to OK it if the motorhome is fully self contained and in excess of 21 feet in length.
Any legal eagles out there with the answer?
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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This question came up over the weekend and I wanted to ask the board if anyone knows the official answer.
If you were taking some friends to dinner at a restaurant and the ladies/gents who were passengers wanted to have a glass of wine or a beer while riding to the restaurant, would that be a legal thing to do in Florida? (Of COURSE the driver would NOT be participating and there would be no beverage within his reach other than a bottle of water!!)
I found that FS 316.1936 seems to OK it if the motorhome is fully self contained and in excess of 21 feet in length.
Any legal eagles out there with the answer?
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:04 PM   #3
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Not sure but don't limos have stocked bars aboard?
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:09 PM   #4
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This is off the topic, but I'd would be more worried about the seat belt laws????
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:05 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I wanted to ask the board if anyone knows the official answer. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Apparently we don't or we are concerned in giving out "official" answers.

Now if you reworded this to say "does anyone have any ideas or opinions" you'd probably get more responses. Such as- Have one of the passengers drink a beer, then throw the empty out the window. After you have safely pulled off the road, ask the person standing outside the driver's window the same question you asked us.
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:25 AM   #6
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I was linked to this while searching www.myflorida.com. See exception (c). I also was told by a FHP trooper that seat belt requirements are exempted in FL for passengers in living area of mh.

The 2007 Florida Statutes

Title XXIII
MOTOR VEHICLES Chapter 316
STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL View Entire Chapter

316.1936 Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles prohibited; penalties.--

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) "Open container" means any container of alcoholic beverage which is immediately capable of being consumed from, or the seal of which has been broken.

(b) "Road" means a way open to travel by the public, including, but not limited to, a street, highway, or alley. The term includes associated sidewalks, the roadbed, the right-of-way, and all culverts, drains, sluices, ditches, water storage areas, embankments, slopes, retaining walls, bridges, tunnels, and viaducts necessary for the maintenance of travel and all ferries used in connection therewith.

(2)(a) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while operating a vehicle in the state or while a passenger in or on a vehicle being operated in the state.

(b) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage while seated in or on a motor vehicle that is parked or stopped within a road as defined in this section. Notwithstanding the prohibition contained in this section, passengers in vehicles designed, maintained, and used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation and in motor homes are exempt.

(3) An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of the operator of a vehicle if the container is not in the possession of a passenger and is not located in a locked glove compartment, locked trunk, or other locked nonpassenger area of the vehicle.

(4) An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of a passenger of a vehicle if the container is in the physical control of the passenger.

(5) This section shall not apply to:

(a) A passenger of a vehicle in which the driver is operating the vehicle pursuant to a contract to provide transportation for passengers and such driver holds a valid commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement issued in accordance with the requirements of chapter 322;

(b) A passenger of a bus in which the driver holds a valid commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement issued in accordance with the requirements of chapter 322; or

(c) A passenger of a self-contained motor home which is in excess of 21 feet in length.

(6) Any operator of a vehicle who violates this section is guilty of a noncriminal moving traffic violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318. A passenger of a vehicle who violates this section is guilty of a nonmoving traffic violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

(7) A county or municipality may adopt an ordinance which imposes more stringent restrictions on the possession of alcoholic beverages in vehicles than those imposed by this section.

(8) Nothing in this section prohibits the enforcement of s. 316.302.

(9) A bottle of wine that has been resealed and is transported pursuant to s. 564.09 is not an open container under the provisions of this section
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:41 AM   #7
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Thanks jzick,
That is the same FS that I came up with and I do believe the passengers would be ok to have a glass of wine, etc without problem. Of course the driver would (and should) be under the normal laws for operating a motor vehicle. Not a regular thing for us to do but just wanted to reassure myself we weren't risking running afoul of the laws here in Florida.

As to the seatbelts, I have also been told, but haven't actually looked up the statute, the same as you....none REQUIRED in the passenger/living area of the motorhome. My Winnebago has belts for the driver, co-pilot and 3 sets on the sofa. I just last week checked with the local Winnebago dealer service manager and was told that I could add belts in the booth dinnette seats. I have no drawers under the seats and have heard that having them would make it a problem to put them in. I may look into putting belts on the front facing seats of the dinnette in order to have a couple more belted seating areas.
Thanks again for the factual reinforcement.
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:05 AM   #8
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I cannot help you with the "official" answer in FL or anywhere else. I firmly believe that, in most States there is no official answer. The reason is simple: the lawmakers who crafted motor vehicle laws didn't consider MHs when they did it. For the Texas Open Container law, there is a specific clause that exempts the "house" portion of the motor home.

Second, I'd suggest that the chances of a LEO looking inside the MH and seeing any sort of violation are very, very slim. There is no doubt that you could get pulled over for a driving infraction but it would have to be a very slow day and you would have to have some outrageously wrong to be stopped other than for a driving violation.

Lastly, we have seat belts at our dinette. The boards under the seats lift off and have small notches cut in them to allow the belts to pass through. The belts are bolted to the floor. The biggest problem that I could see in installing them would be to access underneath the floor to push the bolts upward. You may have lift off tops to the dinette, too.
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:28 AM   #9
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Jzick's reply highlighted the section 5 - c which talks about the passengers but, in section 2 - b above that, motor homes are specifically excluded from the law.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:07 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Capt Joe:
afoul of the laws here in Florida.

As to the seatbelts, I have also been told, but haven't actually looked up the statute, the same as you....none REQUIRED in the passenger/living area of the motorhome. My Winnebago has belts for the driver, co-pilot and 3 sets on the sofa. I just last week checked with the local Winnebago dealer service manager and was told that I could add belts in the booth dinnette seats. I have no drawers under the seats and have heard that having them would make it a problem to put them in. I may look into putting belts on the front facing seats of the dinnette in order to have a couple more belted seating areas.
Thanks again for the factual reinforcement. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Joe your coach has a similar floor plan in the lounge to my 35U. What I did to add a belted position was to replace the lounge chair with a FlexSteel Captains Chair on a bolted down swivel base.

I am looking into added forward facing belts to the dinette however one would have to tilt the slide out at the top to get the bolts for the innermost belt in place. I have considered fabricating a 2X2 steel box channel frame built inside the dinnete to mount the belts to so all the stress would not be cantelevared on the seat panel and would would be held by the steel fame instead in case of an accident.
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:35 AM   #11
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I am a law enforcement sergeant in Florida and just wanted to clarify for all that passengers in motorhomes are indeed exempted from the open container laws. There is your "official" answer! The above statute is the correct one regarding this issue.
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Old 04-13-2008, 12:20 PM   #12
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Why restrict to MOHO.

Buses - no seat belts and I am sure lots drinking while going or coming back sports events, etc.

Sounds like the same as moho for me
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:36 PM   #13
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Note that the statute quoted specifically grants counties and municipalities the ability to impose more stringint restrictions. There may be some county or city out there which does NOT allow 'open' containers in a motorhome. So although you would be safe from the State police, you might be at risk from a sheriff or the local police.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:34 PM   #14
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John, I wouldn't put that real high on my "things to worry about" list. Rarely will local elected officials pass anything more restrictive than the state. Sheriff's department do not enforce traffic laws if they can possibly avoid it (it irritates the voters to get a ticket - Sheriffs are elected), and city police have plenty to do without worrying about who's drinking what inside a motorhome.
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