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What are the Blue Ridge Parkway alcohol rules?

The alcohol rules on the Blue Ridge Parkway start the same as they are anywhere else in North Carolina. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08. Driving while impaired is illegal. Drivers must follow the speed limit, which maxes out at 45 mph on the Parkway, at all times.

Over the last year, this hasn't been happening as often as it should. The park rangers saw two of their vehicles wrecked in accidents, and they also made around 40 arrests for drunk driving.

As such, they noted that there are some additional rules people should be aware of. For example, there are pull-offs like the Lane Pinnacle Overlook where people like to watch the sun go down. Many want to do so while drinking a glass of wine or a beer, but this is not permitted. Drinking is not even allowed for those on foot, who have parked their cars and walked past the control gates. The same goes for any trails.

Now, there are a few exceptions that allow people to drink. These are:

  • Drinking in official campgrounds.
  • Drinking in designated picnic areas from 8:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night.
  • Drinking in overnight backcountry campsites.
  • Drinking in official dining and lodging areas.
  • Drinking in residential areas, for employees.
  • Drinking at any event that has been given special approval by the superintendent.

Of course, drinking and driving laws still are in effect, even if the drinking itself was done legally. Anyone who has been arrested at the park or on the nearby roads must know all of the legal defense options he or she has.

Source: Citizen-Times, "What are the rules for drinking alcohol on the Blue Ridge Parkway?," Karen Chavez, Dec. 20, 2017

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