The open container transfer provision was initially authorized under the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) and reauthorized under SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21. This transfer provision is jointly administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
This transfer provision encourages states to enact an open container law.
This transfer provision requires states to enact and enforce a law that prohibits the possession of any open alcohol beverage container, or the consumption of any alcoholic beverage, in the passenger area of any motor vehicle located on a public highway, or the right-of-way of a public highway, in the states.
NHTSA has published guidance on “common pitfalls” for compliance with the minimum requirements of Section 154. States that fail to comply with these minimum requirements have a portion of their highway funds transfered into the state's Section 402 program.
Under MAP-21, the state may elect to use all or a portion of the penalty transfer funds for activities eligible under the Section 148 Highway Safety Improvement Program. If the state does so, then the funds are transferred from FHWA directly to the state department of transportation for the administration of those funds. SHSOs will no longer be required to track HSIP expenditures in that case.
States that failed to enact an open container law by FY 2001 and FY 2002 had 1.5% of their National Highway System (NHS), Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Interstate Maintenance (IM) funds transferred to the Section 402 program. In subsequent years and under SAFETEA-LU, the amount transferred grew to 3%.
In FY 2012 and every year thereafter, if state is not in compliance with the revised open container penalty provisions, then 2.5% of the National Highway System Performance Plan and the Surface Transportation Program funds are transferred to Section 402 in the subsequent fiscal year. (The amount of the transfer may actually be larger than under SAFETEA-LU since the two core highway programs from which funds are transferred are actually larger.)
Total dollar amounts transfered under SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21 are shown below. Click on a column header to see all federal highway safety funding for that fiscal year.
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