The Lay-Z-Boy That Made Headlines
You may have run across this incredible story on the news, or at WCCO.com: In August 2008, Mr. Dennis Anderson was arrested and eventually pled guilty to driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.29 – over three times the legal limit.
He was driving a Lay-Z-Boy at the time. That’s what it says: A Lay-Z-Boy. As in, America’s favorite brand of reclining furniture. Mr. Anderson had converted his recliner by modifying a lawn mower’s motor and attaching it to the comfortable chair, along with some cup holders and headlights.
How does puttering around on a Lay-Z-Boy attached to a lawn mower qualify as a DUI? The answer lies in the language of the statute that defines the crime of DUI, Minnesota Statute section 169A.20, which reads: “It is a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle… when:
(1) the person is under the influence of alcohol; (2) the person is under the influence of a controlled substance… or (5) the person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the motor vehicle is 0.08 or more…”
Take a look down this page at the blog posted on April 16, 2009, regarding a case entitled State v. Stevens, regarding a DUI involving a little red scooter. The definition of “motor vehicle” in Minnesota includes, according Minnesota Statute section 169A.03 subdivision 15, “every vehicle that is self-propelled and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires. The term includes motorboats in operation and off-road recreational vehicles, but does not include a vehicle moved solely by human power.”
In Stevens, the defendant was charged with a DUI even though the police officer never saw him actually operating the Scooter – the court ruled it was sufficient that he had injuries consistent with a motor scooter accident and that witnesses had seen him driving a scooter earlier that evening.
So, according to the state’s definition, if you plan on being on public roadways after consuming alcohol, and you don’t plan on taking a cab, you should dust off your bicycle (no self-propelled motor) , unicycle, tricycle or old school Big Wheels to get you around for the evening. Your own two feet are also a good option. Just leave the scooters, golf carts, snowmobiles, ATV’s, mopeds and Lay-Z-Boys at home!