I was recently talking to a gal that I had met who wasn't born and raised in Montana. And I was explaining how things are different than they are in Seattle where she grew up.

You should have seen the look on her face when I told her about how it used to be OK  for passengers in vehicles to have open alcoholic beverages. She said, "Shut up!" And I assured her that back in the 1970's having an open beer while tooling around endless gravel roads was a big deal to people that were my folks' age.

Drinking and Driving in MT
Credit: Canva

I recall many a sunny Sunday playing pool at some bar on a back road while the grown-ups had another cocktail. And nobody thought twice about doing it.

Michael Foth, Townsquare Media
Michael Foth, Townsquare Media

At this point, I should give you my disclaimer that I don't support drinking and driving. I'm just saying that all those years ago, it was an all-afternoon event for many.

This next part I had to look up because as I recall they changed the law in Montana to say that no open containers of alcohol are allowed in vehicles. But as of October 1st, 2005 Montana State law 61-8-1026 made it illegal to have anything that might impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle in that vehicle.

I was also told that if you get pulled over and your vehicle gets searched and they find an old beer can with even a tiny bit of beer left, you're in trouble. Consult with your own law enforcement connections for the answer to that one.

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