Criminal Justice

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

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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 site links to a YouTube video of the ad.

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