Can You Get a Dui On a Skateboard?

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Thinking you’re too cool for rules while cruising on your skateboard with a buzz? Pause. Can you get a DUI on a skateboard? You bet, depending on where you live.

This blog post unpacks the laws that can turn your laid-back ride into a legal nightmare. Read on to save yourself from a ride you’ll regret.

Key Takeaways:

  • Legal Implications of Skateboarding Skateboarding can lead to legal repercussions due to impaired riding, particularly with evolving laws around electric boards.
  • Impaired Skateboarding Risks Substance use while skateboarding can increase the risk of severe injuries due to impaired judgment, reflexes, and balance, contributing to a substantial number of annual emergency room visits.
  • Variation in State Regulations Legislation in several states is adapting to account for a range of non-motorized mobility devices, with a focus on their use on public roads and involvement in accidents.
  • Challenges in Proving Impairment The unique nature of skateboarding makes conventional impairment testing methods inadequate, necessitating innovative approaches to gather and interpret evidence reliably.
  • Prevention of Alcohol-Related Injuries Promoting responsible consumption, offering alternative transport options like rideshares, and having designated sober drivers can help reduce risks and foster a safer environment.
  • Promoting Responsible Riding Awareness of local laws and responsible behavior is crucial in minimizing legal risks and ensuring the safety of both riders and the general public while skateboarding.

Is Skateboarding Considered Driving?

Skateboarding is generally not considered an action that falls under legal definitions of “driving.” Most state vehicle codes do not classify skateboards in the same category as motor vehicles like cars that require licensing and adherence to traffic laws.

However, some jurisdictions are updating ordinances to address the growing popularity of electric skateboards and one-wheeled personal transporters that achieve higher speeds.

For example, California now legally defines power-driven mobility devices to include electric boards, opening operators to potential DUI charges if caught riding under the influence on public roads.

Risks of Alcohol or Drug Use While Skateboarding

Impaired skateboarding carries serious risks beyond just legal consequences. According to the CDC, recreational skateboarding sends over 500,000 Americans to the emergency room annually.

Alcohol or drugs slow reflexes, impair judgment and balance, and increase the chances of a fall causing traumatic brain injury.

In a 2020 study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, over 25% of injured skateboarders presenting to an LA trauma center tested positive for alcohol or drugs. Even without vehicles involved, substance-assisted skating raises safety concerns worthy of legal and public health examination.

States with Skateboard DUI Laws

California made headlines in 2018 as the first state to establish legal grounds treating electric skateboard operation under the influence as a DUI offense.

Since then, states like New York have introduced similar legislation accounting for the whole class of non-motorized mobility devices.

However, enforcement of recreational skateboarding remains challenging and laws tend to focus on public road use and causing accidents.

Denver passed an ordinance in 2021 formally prohibiting alcohol and drug possession while skating city parks to promote safety. As alternatives to motorized transport grow in prevalence, expect evolving regulatory efforts nationwide.

Proving Impairment in Skateboard DUIs

Correlating erratic skateboarding with a quantifiable blood alcohol content poses clear difficulties absent standardized field sobriety tests.

While balance and cognitive tests provide clues to motor vehicle drivers’ intoxication levels, skateboarding involves unique physical skills reacting to terrain. And portable breathalyzers can’t be reasonably deployed during activity.

As such, chemical blood tests back at the station represent the surefire impairment evidence needed in skateboarding DUI cases, though obtaining such samples faces logistical and probable cause hurdles.

Skillful defense can poke holes in assumptions of linkage between failures on makeshift dexterity tests and genuine intoxication.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Injuries While Skating

Peer pressure, binge drinking culture, and stress-relieving tendencies promote the risky behavior of drinking and skating concurrently among thrill-seeking demographics.

However, substance abuse education and designated sober drivers can shift social norms toward prioritizing safety.

Many urban centers offer bike shares and affordable transit alternatives late at night. Calling a cab, utilizing ride-share apps, or relying on temperate friends ensures arrival home without putting yourself or the public at risk of an alcohol or drug-influenced incident.

Taking personal responsibility and voluntarily abstaining from substances during activities like skateboarding helps everyone have fun responsibly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while skateboarding is generally not considered driving under the influence laws, drinking and skating do carry legal risks in some areas.

More importantly, alcohol or drug use greatly increases safety hazards when engaging in skateboarding or other recreational activities.

As alternate modes of transport like electric boards continue growing in popularity, regulations surrounding impaired operation will likely evolve further.

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