18B-401. Manner of transportation.

(a) Opened Containers. - Except as authorized by a common carrier vehicle permit under G.S. 18B-1001(23), it shall be unlawful for a person to transport fortified wine or spirituous liquor in the passenger area of a motor vehicle in other than the manufacturer's unopened original container. It shall be unlawful for a person who is driving a motor vehicle on a highway or public vehicular area to consume in the passenger area of that vehicle any malt beverage or unfortified wine. Violation of this subsection shall constitute a Class 3 misdemeanor.

(b) Taxis. - It shall be unlawful for a person operating a for-hire passenger vehicle as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)f., to transport fortified wine or spirituous liquor unless the vehicle is transporting a paying passenger who owns the alcoholic beverage being transported. Not more than eight liters of fortified wine or spirituous liquor, or combination of the two, may be transported by each passenger. A violation of this subsection shall not be grounds for suspension of the driver's license for illegal transportation of intoxicating liquors under G.S. 20-16(a)(8).

(c) Definitions. - The definitions in Chapter 20 of the General Statutes apply in interpreting this section. If the seal on a container of alcoholic beverages has been broken, it is opened within the meaning of this section. For purposes of this section, "passenger area of a motor vehicle" means the area designed to seat the driver and passengers and any area within the reach of a seated driver or passenger, including the glove compartment. In the case of a station wagon, hatchback or similar vehicle, the area behind the last upright back seat shall not be considered part of the passenger area. (1923, c. 1, s. 25; C.S., s. 3411(y); 1937, c. 49, ss. 14, 16; c. 411; 1967, c. 222, ss. 1, 7; c. 1256, s. 3; 1969, c. 598, ss. 2, 3; c. 1018; 1971, c. 872, s. 1; 1977, c. 176, s. 1; c. 586; 1979, c. 607, s. 1; 1981, c. 412, s. 2; c. 747, s. 45; 1983, c. 435, s. 7; 1989, c. 553, s. 3; 1993, c. 508, s. 4; c. 539, s. 312; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2017-102, s. 5.2(b); 2021-150, s. 28.3.)