Criminal Justice

Safe-Driving Ad Campaign Helps Clarify: Drunken Horse Riders Comply with DUI Statute


Montana Department of Transportation's
"Sober Friend" ad.

Drunken motorists can, at least in theory, be charged with illegally driving under the influence when at the helm of a motorized wheelchair or even a recliner.

But under Montana law they are in the clear when they rely on a trusted equine to take them home after they’ve had too much to drink, according to the Independent Record.

The relevant statute says that a vehicle moved by animal power—which, in addition to a horse ridden by someone who’s had too much to drink, would also include a horse-drawn buggy, a bicycle and a nonmotorized wheelchair—cannot be ticketed for DUI.

The legal issue captured public attention after the state ran a clip of a man who’d apparently had a few beers riding a horse home as part of a “Sober Friend” advertising campaign.

An article on the United Kingdom’s Metro.com site links to a YouTube video of the ad.

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