Tougher Tennessee open container law could mean more money for roads

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A legislative proposal for a stricter open-container law in Tennessee could allow state officials to spend more money on infrastructure projects instead of safety programs.

State officials say that about $15 million of road-building money is currently diverted because the state rules don't meet with federal standards. About $12 million of that federal money is instead directed to the state's road safety programs.

It's currently illegal for any driver to drink while driving, but the law doesn't apply to passengers. A bill advancing out of committee in the House on Tuesday would expand the ban to anybody riding in a vehicle.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jon Lundberg, a Bristol Republican, would lift the limitations on how the state spends the federal road money.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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