Can you get a DUI on an Electric Scooter in Louisville?
LOUISVILLE: FOR THE BIRDS?
For the last couple of months, the birds have been flying about in Louisville. Not the fair-feathered type, friends, but the electric motorized scooters that are left at various locations around town that you can use an app to locate and then rent. When you’ve finished your journey, simply leave it where you are, take a picture, and update the app. The next person can then locate it and use it to take them wherever it is that they wish to go.
Could there be an easier and more interesting way to cruise around downtown, Old Louisville, or the Highlands? How about instead of a pedal cart, you and your friends fly a flock of birds from bar to bar for a ‘pub scoot’? Not to throw a wet white towel in on the excitement, but I’ve been asked several times already whether or not you can get a DUI on a bird scooter. The answer is simply “yes”.
As pretty much everyone knows, Kentucky law prohibits you from operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of 0.08 or greater. It also prohibits a person from operating a vehicle with certain drugs in their system (with or without a prescription, and depending on the type of drug, regardless of actual impairment). The law even allows for prosecutions when a person’s BAC isn’t above a 0.08, which is most often seen when there is a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance detected in a blood sample. But I digress … my focus here is on alcohol.
When we think of motor vehicles, most people assume we’re talking about cars or motorcycles. But a vehicle can be many more things. Looking to the Kentucky Revised Statutes will give us the needed legal definition. Let’s start with 189.010’s definition of “vehicle”.
189.010 – Definitions
19(a) “Vehicle” includes:
- All agencies for the transportation of persons or property over or upon the public highways of the Commonwealth; and
- All vehicles passing over or upon the highways.
Pretty broad definition. But wait, it says that it has to be on a highway. Nobody’s taking a bird scooter on the highway! However, like many things in the legal world, the answer isn’t quite so easy – look at the definition of “highway” at 189.010(3):
Okay, so “highway” pretty much means anywhere you’d be on a bird, including most parking lots.
So, while the birds seem to have taken up residence here in Louisville and are going to be located in areas of town that have a high density of bars and restaurants, it can’t be overlooked that operating one while impaired – besides being terribly dangerous – can also result in an arrest and charge for DUI.