Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to regulate further the possession of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public safety and convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 90 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 24I, as appearing in the 1998 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 24I. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:
"Open container", any bottle, can or other receptacle used to contain a liquid that has been opened or has a broken seal, or the contents of which have been partially removed or consumed.
"Passenger area", the area designed to seat the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in a seated position including, but not limited to, the glove compartment. But in a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a trunk, the passenger area shall not include a locked glove compartment, the area behind the last upright seat, or an area not normally occupied by the driver or a passenger.
(b) Whoever, upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access, or upon any way or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, possesses an open container of alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of any motor vehicle shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500.
(c) This section shall not apply to (1) the passengers of a motor vehicle designed, maintained and used for the transportation of persons for compensation, or (2) the living quarters of a house coach or house trailer.
SECTION 2. The joint committee on public safety shall study the feasibility, establishment, implementation and operation in the commonwealth of a safe rides program, so-called, designed and intended to provide transportation to individuals who find themselves in an unsafe situation. The committee shall complete its study and prepare a report of its findings and recommendations on or before December 1, 2000.