Drinking and Driving Laws with Other Means of Transportation

drinking and driving laws

Drinking and Driving Laws, With Other Means of Transportation

When it comes to drinking and driving laws, most people think of the traditional means of transportation for this to happen, i.e. motor vehicles. Being arrested for drinking and driving is not isolated to just drinking and operating motor vehicles; there are many other forms of transportation that can result in a drinking and driving charge. Some of these not so common instances include: drinking and flying, drinking and boating, drinking and riding a bicycle, and even drinking and operating a motorized scooter.

Drinking and Flying: The Federal Aviation Association

Drinking and driving a motorized vehicle is dangerous in itself, but drinking and flying an aircraft is incredibly dangerous. For this reason, there is a special classification for drinking and flying: flying under the influence (FUI).i There are both state and federal laws regulating drinking and flying, similar to drinking and driving laws.ii There are also laws that each pilot has to obey with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).iii

The Federal Aviation Administration regulates anything and everything related to aerospace.iv The organization is a national organization that regulates all aspects of American civil aviation – so no military involvement.v The major functions of the Federal Aviation Administration include regulating United States commercial space transportation and the regulation of the air navigations facilities’ geometric and flight inspection standards.vi The Federal Aviation Administration also tries to encourage the development of new aviation technology, as well as promote current safety procedures through local offices called Flight Standards District Offices.vii The Federal Aviation Administration also is in charge of issuing, suspending, or even revoking pilot certificates.viii Another interesting program that the organization focuses on as one of their main functions is noise control, as well as other environmental effects of aviation.ix The final organization is the Commercial Space Transportation (AST), which ensures protection of United States assets during the launch or reentry of commercial space vehicles.x

The Federal Aviation Administration is actually broken down into four, what they call, lines of business, each of which has a specific role within the Federal Aviation Administrationxi The first organization is Airports (ARP).xii This organizations specific role with The Federal Aviation Administration is to plan and develop projects involving airports, overseeing their construction and operations and also ensuring compliance with federal regulations.xiii The next organization is Air Traffic Organization (ATO).xiv This organizations primary duty is to safely and efficiently move air traffic within the national airspace system.xv The employees of this organizations manage air traffic facilities, including air traffic control towers (ATCT) and terminal radar approach control facilities.xvi Next, the Aviation Safety (ACS) is responsible for aeronautical certification of personnel and aircraft, including pilots, airlines and mechanics.xvii

One way that the Federal Aviation Administration tries to prevent as many drinking and flying incidents is that they require random alcohol testing to be performed on pilots.xviii The Federal Aviation Administration also requires that if a pilot was in an accident, an investigation as to whether alcohol was a contributing factor for the accident.xix When it comes to regulations for drinking and flying, it does not matter what classification the aircraft is – there is a no tolerance rule.xx This means that if a pilot has any level of alcohol in their system, they could receive a flying under the influence charge.xxiNot only will the pilot receive a flying under the influence charge and have possible criminal ramifications – they will be penalized by the Federal Aviation Administration.xxii The Federal Aviation Administration has very strict regulations when it comes to drinking and flying, and these regulations may even extend to crew members of commercial aircrafts.xxiii The Federal Aviation Administration has made it illegal for crew members to consume alcohol within eight hours prior to a flight or have a 0.04% blood alcohol concentration when aboard the flight.xxiv Pilots or crew members who violate these regulations could face some pretty serious consequences – like revocation of their license, imprisonment, and some pretty hefty fines.xxv

The bottom line is, the Federal Aviation Administration do not kid around when it comes to drinking and flying – even if you are not the pilot. The Federal Aviation Administration is very serious about maintaining a safe airspace for everything involved.

Drinking and Boating

Operating a boat can be just as dangerous as operating a motor vehicle, and for this reason there are state and federal drinking and driving laws that prohibit drinking while operating a boat or other watercraft.xxvi These laws permit law enforcement to pull over a watercraft and ensure that the person operating the watercraft is not impaired by alcohol.xxvii The United States Coast Guard provides literature about the drinking and operating a boat, including information about some of the potential consequences if caught doing so.xxviii

Drinking and driving laws for boating is defined individually by the states, but generally it is defined as operating a watercraft on a body of water while under the influence of alcohol.xxix While every state in the United States has the legal blood alcohol limit at 0.08% for drinking and operating a motor vehicle, the states are still split on the permitted level of blood alcohol concentration for operating a boat. Most states have also adopted the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, while others are allowing up to 0.1% blood alcohol concentration.xxx

When it comes to operating a boat or other watercraft, there are a lot of factors that can result in fatigue of the operating person – which also puts them at danger. The factors that can affect the operator’s physical or mental abilities include: heat, sun, noise, wind, glare, and the motion of the boat.xxxi These factors, when affecting the operator, are referred to as boater’s fatigue.xxxii These factors can really interfere with the operator’s ability to properly operate the watercraft – so adding alcohol or even drugs into the mix is very dangerous. Alcohol and drugs can cause severe impairment by themselves, so mixing that with the boater’s fatigue factors can be even more dangerous than alcohol itself.

Just like other drinking and driving convictions, there are consequences of a drinking and boating conviction. Simple fines are not necessarily going to be available for drinking and boating, like it would be with some drinking and driving punishments. When it comes to recreational boat operators, they could face having their boating license suspended or revoked.xxxiii Repeat offenders, like any other drinking and driving incident, will likely have more severe consequences with each drinking and boating incident.xxxiv Drinking and operating a boat while minors on board, especially if the minors have been given drugs or alcohol, could result in the boat operator losing even his motor vehicle driver’s license.xxxv

Commercial boat operators face much more severe consequences than recreational boat drivers. For starters, drinking and operating a commercial boat could likely suspend or revoke their license – which could have a much serious affect on the operators life than a recreational boat operator. Many commercial boat operators operate boats as a living, so revocation of their license could have devastating financial consequences for the operator on a personal level. For commercial boat operators who do not lose their license, they could face monetary fines, and even be required to complete drug or alcohol counseling courses.xxxvi

Drinking and Other Forms of Transportation

drinking and driving lawsEven though it seems like drinking and operating an airplane, a boat, or a car now seem like the standard ways of receiving a drinking and driving conviction – but think again. If it moves – you can likely get charged under drinking and driving laws if you are operating while impaired.

In an article that listed the ten funniest ways to receive a DUI while operating something other than a car – or boat or plane. The first way listed was riding a lawnmower.xxxvii Apparently in 2009, a man was chased by police for about a half a mile while swerving in and out of lanes – while driving his lawnmower.xxxviii When the police finally managed to get him to stop, the man was given a breathalyzer test and blew a 0.15% blood alcohol concentration.xxxix Another incident on the articles list was a man operating a motorized wheelchair. This incident took place in Australia, and when law enforcement found the man, he blew a 0.301% blood alcohol concentration.xl Apparently the man was “driving” a nine mile trip between his friends house and home, but he passed out before making it there.

The article also has incidents that include drinking and riding a horse. The incident that made the article apparently landed the person with just a fine for riding her horse through town while drunk around midnight.xli Other incidents included someone operating motorized Barbie power wheels – the ones made for small children.xlii Another incident involved a person who was riding a tricycle on a public road, but was doing so down the wrong side of the road. Other incidents include a lot of homemade items, like motorized barstool, a motorized lay-z-boy chair, and a motorized beverage cooler.xliii

Conclusion

When it comes to drinking and driving laws, operating a motor vehicle is not the only way in which you can receive criminal consequences for those actions. Realistically, operating anything motorized (and sometimes not even motorized – a tricycle) can result in a drinking and driving arrest, if you are impaired enough to place yourself and others in danger. Drinking and operating an airplane is arguably one of the most dangerous actions, and for this reason, the Federal Aviation Association has very strict standards to keep pilots and crew members in line.

Every state in the United States has drinking and driving laws in place to deal with drinking and operating basically anything motorized. Whether that is a boat, a wheelchair, or a lawn mower, the state laws have a method of punishment for everything who tries to drink and drive. Consult experienced attorneys for such other drinking and driving laws.


iSee Piloting an Aircraft Under the Influence DUI Foundation (Accessed June 22, 2016) http://www.anellixavier.com/dui-foundation/drunkdriving/aircraft/

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ivSee About FAA Federal Aviation Administration (Accessed June 22, 2016) https://www.faa.gov/about/

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xvSee About FAA Federal Aviation Administration (Accessed June 22, 2016) https://www.faa.gov/about/

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xviiiSee Becoming a Pilot Federal Aviation Administration (Accessed June 22, 2016) https://www.faa.gov/pilots/become/

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xxSee Piloting an Aircraft Under the Influence DUI Foundation (Accessed June 22, 2016) http://www.anellixavier.com/dui-foundation/drunkdriving/aircraft/

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xxviSee Boating Under the Influence Basics FindLaw (Accessed June 22, 2016) http://dui.findlaw.com/dui-charges/boating-under-the-influence-basics.html

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xxxviiSee 10 Most Hilarious Ways to Get a DUI Super Tight Stuff (Published in 2009) http://www.supertightstuff.com/06/15/motoring/10-most-hilarious-ways-to-get-a-dui/

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