Nobody should ever get into the driver’s seat when they’re drunk (legally defined in the U.S. as a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher); nor should they let anybody else. DUIs are very serious stuff, with one-third of all traffic-related deaths in 2010 involving drunk drivers. But while we’re all familiar with the basic DUI laws and fines, chances are that you haven’t heard some of these 10 DUI facts, such as that you can get a DUI riding a scooter!
1. DUI while Riding a Scooter
Hollywood bad boy Mickey Rourke was arrested back in 2007 for driving his Vespa scooter in an erratic manner. When the police pulled him over they smelled the alcohol on his breath and then had him undergo a field sobriety test, which showed that he was DUI. Though it’s difficult to picture Rourke on a Vespa, even if it had been a Harley he would have been charged and arrested for riding it while drunk.
2. Anything Motorized Is Subject to the Law
Drinking too much and getting behind the wheel of anything motorized puts you and others around you in jeopardy. Therefore, police can charge you with DUI if you’re driving anything while you’re unfit for driving. The Internet is full of stories of people getting DUIs unconventionally, including while riding a lawnmower, a motorized wheelchair, a kid-sized Barbie car, a motorized Lay-Z-Boy recliner, and even a motorized cooler “train.”
Perhaps the most amazing thing about these stories is that the people who were smart enough to develop and build some of these contraptions were then too stupid to know not to drive them after they’d drunk a few too many beers.
3. Yes, Golf Carts Too
If you’ve ever been to golf communities in “over 50″ communities, you know all about the proliferation of golf carts. They’re all over the place, and some of them are driven by some real speed demons!! While it’s not uncommon for golfers to enjoy a six-pack while playing 18 holes, it needs to be less common for them to then drive their cart home while intoxicated.
If you drive a golf cart DUI while on public land, you’ll be subject to DUI laws. Georgia was among the first states to designate golf carts as “street legal” vehicles, rendering all vehicle laws applicable to them as well.
4. And It Doesn’t Have to Be Running
Strangely, the vehicle doesn’t technically have to be running for the occupant in the driver seat to receive a DUI. If the keys are in the ignition, the intent is there. There have been many reported cases through the U.S. of DUI charges being leveled at people found asleep at the wheel at intersections, on train tracks, or somewhere on the road. Invariably, when police officers have woken them up, they’ve issued field sobriety tests on the spot and charged the sleepers with driving under the influence even though they weren’t caught actually driving.
5. Mr. Ed Should Lay off the Booze
We occasionally hear stories about drunken horseback riders, but it turns out that riding a horse (or any other animal, we imagine) while intoxicated is not subject to DUI laws. You will, however, likely get charged with reckless behavior, public endangerment, and animal cruelty. And your horse may never talk to you again.
6. It’s Going to Cost You Big-Time
Enough about some of the strange ways you can get a DUI–do you have any idea how much a DUI charge will cost you? And we’re not just talking about the personal cost, which could include your parents having to drive you around, or your wife making you sleep on the couch with the dog. According to the state of Tennessee’s website, a DUI conviction can cost you upwards of $5,000 once all fines and fees are paid!
7. Keep the Pennies in Your Pocket
Some of the most enduring urban legends surround breathalyzer tests and ways to outsmart them. One of these involves keeping a penny in your mouth while breathing into the machine. Episode 6, Season 2 of the the Mythbusters television show on The Discovery Channel proved how fruitless this is, along with other strange ideas that didn’t work either. Who knows where that penny has been, anyway? The best way to beat a breathalyzer test is not to be drunk.
8. The Most Dangerous Holiday
When you think of holidays that involve lots of drinking and good cheer, you most likely think of New Year’s Eve. But, believe it or not, Thanksgiving is actually the deadliest holiday when it comes to being on the road. When you think about Thanksgiving–when people are either with those that they love, celebrating being together, or forced to spend time with the family they never liked–the holiday seems tailor-made for drinking.
9. Coffee Will Not Sober You up
So often we’ll enjoy a dinner out with our loved ones, along with a bottle of wine, and then order a cup of coffee at the end of the meal to counteract the wine. If you’re not drunk, it’s likely that the caffeine will stimulate you enough to wake you up a bit. However, coffee will not sober you up and it will not help you metabolize alcohol any faster, as proven by Mythbusters. The only thing it will likely get you to do faster is have to use the bathroom.
10. Time Is Your Ally
The only cure for being drunk is time. To keep from getting a DUI or worse, hurting yourself or somebody else, wait until you’re sober to get behind the wheel. A basic rule of thumb is that it takes one hour for one unit of alcohol (roughly equivalent to half a beer or a small glass of wine) to leave your bloodstream. Other factors such as weight, metabolism, gender, and age also come into play. Your best bet is to have something to eat, drink a lot of water, and let time be on your side.