Michigan Appeals Court: A DUI on a Mobility Scooter is, well, a DUI

Since the case involved an electric scooter, you’d expect it to move rather slowly, and it has. It was back in September of 2013 that William Lyon drove down South Garfield Avenue in Traverse City, beer in hand. Unfortunately, he took to the car lanes, and caused a traffic snarl, 4 mph being 4 mph. He was booked on charge of operating while intoxicated.

You can get a DUI on a scooterThe case was dismissed because a scooter didn’t qualify as a motor vehicle. Rather, it’s a personal mobility device.

The prosecutor wasn’t fazed: a motor is a motor, after all, and a vehicle is a vehicle. He appealed, and the judges have now spoken: Lyon drove the vehicle on the main road, not the sidewalk, so the crime of operating a vehicle while intoxicated did indeed occur.

It’s not over yet: all this means is that the case can be tried as an OWI. Lyons’s fate is with the courts.

But the lesson, which the offender has now learned, and which we too can learn, is that driving any vehicle while intoxicated is illegal, dangerous, and dumb. In the past you’ve been informed of driving drunk on a variety of vehicles: tractors, snowmobiles (also in Michigan – is there something in the water?), lawnmowers, Segways, even horses. If it moves by itself and is heavy, it can be dangerous, and the responsibility is on the driver to stay sober.

A scooter might be slower, but it’ll get you in big trouble just as fast.