Last Updated on March 23, 2021 by Morris Green
I’m pretty sure you’ve stumbled upon e-scooters rushing around town lately. With cities all over the country adopting the technology, electric scooters’ popularity has skyrocketed over the past few years.
Commuters and tourists in hundreds of cities and towns rely on e-scooters as a cheap form of transportation for short trips around town. They’re fast, efficient, and don’t really ding your wallet.
Nevertheless, there has been an uptick in emergency room visits from e-scooter injuries in the past few years as well. It’s reported that hospitals saw a spike in injuries to heads, elbows, and hips from e-scooter accidents. Upon closer inspection, it was found that a large number of these accidents were mainly caused by alcohol or drug intoxication while riding. These are truly awful accidents that could’ve been prevented, given the right circumstances.
According to The University of San Diego Medical Center, of the 42 people that were admitted to the center for treatment for serious injuries from an e-scooter accident and included in the study, 48% had a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit.
Can You Get a DUI While Riding an E-Scooter?
Yes. You can certainly get charged with driving under the influence, or also commonly known as driving while impaired (DWI). Almost all states have developed driving under the influence laws that apply in the case of e-scooters. With the large increase in e-scooters by Bird, Lime, and other companies, cities and local councils have had to adapt and introduce new laws and regulations to keep their communities safe.
Additionally, you could get charged even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit. According to Houston DUI accident lawyer Anthony Milano, being below the legal limit is not an absolute defense against a DUI claim.
Being convicted with a driving under the influence charge is a serious matter. Defendants in these cases may face different penalties that include:
- Paying a monetary fine.
- Getting your driver’s license suspended.
- Potentially serving jail time.
Consequences of a DUI
Operating any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is both reckless and dangerous. That’s why there are tough consequences for getting caught riding any vehicle while intoxicated. Here’s an example of the repercussions:
- First Offense. If it is your first ever DUI offense, you could be subjected to a maximum of one year in jail, paying a minimum fine of $500, and losing your driver’s license for one year. Additionally, you could be subjected to serving 100 hours of community service.
- Second Offense. After your second DUI offense, you would be subjected to jail time, pay a higher minimum fine of $1,250, and potentially lose your license for 5 years.
- Third Offense. After your third DUI offense, you could spend up to 7 years in jail, pay a minimum fine of 25,000, and risk losing your driver’s license for 10 years.
Tips to Stay Safe While Riding E-Scooters
We’ve put together a few tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe while riding e-scooters:
- Never Drink & Drive. Treat your scooter as if you would treat your car, and never operate it while under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
- Wear a Helmet. It may not be required everywhere but it’s one of the best ways to keep you safe in the event of an accident. Especially when riding a scooter or a bike.
- Be Visible. When riding at night or when there’s low visibility, make sure you’re visible to vehicles around you by wearing reflective clothing and having lights on your scooter.
Stay Predictable. It’s always good advice to stay predictable to drivers around you. Don’t make any sudden turns or stops before making sure your surroundings are clear.