There are a lot of crazy driving under the influence (DUI) stories coming out of Florida lately. Just this past week one young girl decided to Periscope her drunken drive home, and it was no surprise to anyone when she ended up arrested after numerous people called her in.
Days later another Florida resident hit the news, and this time it was because he was drinking and driving in a motorized wheelchair. According to Florida driving under the influence law, a citizen can be arrested for drinking and driving in any type of motorized vehicle. That includes golf carts, electric bikes, and yes, even motorized wheelchairs.
Police received several complaints about one man who was in his wheelchair and was blocking the path on a pedestrian bridge. He appeared to be intoxicated, and he had slurred speech and was acting confused. When police arrived they arrested him for DUI because he was operating the motorized wheelchair.
When he appeared before a judge he was given a $5,000 bond. Because it was his 3rd DUI in 10 years, he’ll be facing numerous penalties. He could spend up to one year in jail, pay up to $5,000 in fines, and be required to lose his drivers license, if he has one, for 10 years. If he has a vehicle other than his motorized wheelchair, he’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he drives.
This is a unique case given that he was arrested and faces penalties because of drunk driving in a wheelchair, but Florida has such a big DUI problem that some inventive retailers have come up proposed transportation solutions. The DUI Scooter was the result of that, and although there have been many people who think a scooter isn’t a motor vehicle and you don’t need a drivers license to use one, that’s not true.
Florida law requires you to have a valid drivers license to operate any motor vehicle on public streets or highways, and not drinking and driving is a condition of that license. That’s what the driver of the wheelchair found out, and it’s a good lesson for anyone who’s tempted to drink and drive in Florida.