Open Container Laws in Hawaii

The fine for driving with an open container in Hawaii is $2,000. This applies to any unsealed container within the range of a driver or passenger.
Written by Max Werner
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Hawaii makes it illegal to keep unsealed alcoholic containers near the driver of a vehicle—anywhere but the trunk is off-limits. Failing to comply will land you a $2,000 fine or 30 days in jail.
Every state has different open container laws for which the penalties and exemptions vary greatly. If you’re in Hawaii, do yourself a favor and brush up on what’s what in the Aloha State.
Whether you're an islander or just visiting, the
car insurance
comparison and broker app
has the guide for you. Here’s everything you need to know about Hawaii's open container laws—from avoiding a violation to exceptions to the rule.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings

What is the open container law in Hawaii?

Hawaii Statewide Traffic Code
Section 291-3.1
deals with the storage of alcohol and motor vehicles. According to the code, no person impaired or sober shall:
  • Keep an unsealed container of intoxicating liquor in the passenger area of your vehicle
  • Keep an unsealed container of intoxicating liquor in your vehicle’s glove box
  • Consume alcohol in your car while at a scenic lookout
  • For vehicles without a trunk, keep an unsealed container of intoxicating liquor in an area of the vehicle normally occupied by the driver or passenger
You may be charged with a violation regardless of your knowledge of the container’s whereabouts. The only place to store unsealed alcohol in your vehicle is its trunk—anywhere else and you won’t be happy with the consequences.

What counts as an open container?

You might be wondering what an “open container” actually means. In Hawaii, they’re defined as “any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing intoxicating liquor which has been open, or a seal broken, or the contents of which has been partially or fully removed.”
This definition is pretty straightforward—encompassing everything from takeout mimosas to empty beer cans to closed flasks of whiskey. This means thinking twice before bringing along that alcoholic “road soda” and making sure to transport opened liquor bottles via your trunk.

Exceptions to Hawaii’s open container law

Hawaii offers some exemptions to the law in the form of private transport. Passengers are allowed to carry open containers in the following vehicles:
  • Taxis
  • Limos
  • Buses
  • Motor homes
Key Takeaway Open container laws do not apply to passengers of vehicles that separate the passenger from the driver, such as limos and taxis.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings

Penalties for violating Hawaii’s open container law

If you're found in violation of Code 291-3.1, you can face up to 30 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a $250 fee made payable to the Drug Demand Reduction Assessment special fund. Passengers may be fined up to $1,000.
While this may seem like a steep price to pay, that’s nothing compared to the punishment for a DUI offense. If you're convicted of violating
Hawaii's DUI laws
, your license will be immediately suspended for one year. On top of attending 14 hours of rehabilitation, DUI offenders must complete one or more of the following:
  • 72 hours of community service
  • 48 hours to 5 days in jail
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines
Subsequent DUI offenses come with harsher penalties—such as longer suspensions and continuous alcohol monitoring. A DUI involving a child passenger under the age of 15 carries an additional $500 fine and 48 hours in jail.
Refusing a breathalyzer used to check a driver’s BAC (blood-alcohol content) won’t do you any favors. This action will result in the immediate seizure of your license.

How to save money on car insurance in Hawaii

With the drastic impact alcohol-related infractions can have on your insurance, it’s easy to see how smart driving helps you save. If you’re in the mood for even more savings, check out
—the smart, simple way to compare
car insurance
Jerry partners with 50+ top providers to find you the lowest rates available on the coverage you need. Just download the app, enter your information, and get set up with savings within minutes! 
Jerry users save an average of $800+ a year on car insurance. 
“I usually hate all the phone calls that come with getting car insurance quotes, but with
, I was able to do everything over text. I went from $224 with my previous provider to $193 with Nationwide. Such a relief!” —Gabby P. 
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store
Both the driver and the passenger will be fined for violation of the open container law in Hawaii—though the driver can face steeper punishments.
Your license will be immediately seized and suspended.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings