The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in the State v. Greenman case that “[a] person operating a ‘Segway’ electric personal assistive mobility device is not a driver of a motor vehicle and is not, therefore subject to the prohibitions of Minnesota’s drunk driving laws.” Gentlemen, have a few brews and start your engines (or two-wheeled self-balancing battery powered electric vehicle).
The case involves Mr. Greenman, who “attempted to travel a short distance to his home using his Segway. After traveling along the walking path, Greenman entered the road.” A vehicle slowed down and serve in order to avoid Mr. Greenman on his Segway. The Police stopped Mr. Greenman and noticed signs of intoxication. The police officer conducted DUI field sobriety tests, which Mr. Greenman failed, and “breath test revealed an alcohol concentration of .19.” State v. Greenman, A12-1605, (Minn. App. 2013).
The lower Court held that Mr. Greenman was not guilty of drunk driving because his Segway was not a motor vehicle in light of the State v. Brown case. 801 N.W.2d 186 (Minn. App. 2011). The drunk Segway driver was “acting as a pedestrian” and not a driver of a motor vehicle.
The Brown court ultimately determined that Brown’s mobility scooter was a wheelchair that ‘did not meet the definition of ‘vehicle,’ because it is generally not a ‘device in, upon, or by which a person is or may be transported…upon a highway. Id. at 189. Accordingly, because Brown’s scooter was not a ‘vehicle,’ the court concluded that is was not a ‘motor vehicle’, as the term is used in drunk driving and driving while impaired laws. The Brown court’s interpretation of the traffic and drunk driving codes applies equally to Segways. State v. Greenman, A12-1605, (Minn. App. 2013).
So at the end of the day, according to the Greenman court you can drive your Segway drunk, but you may kill yourself doing so because Segways are difficult to drive sober.