Recreational vehicles such as ATVs, boats and snowmobiles can be a lot of fun, but there are serious consequences for operating these vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.
ATVs and Impaired Driving
According to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, ATV accidents account for 500 to 600 fatalities each year in the United States — and many of these fatalities are a result of driver intoxication. Not only do you run the risk of injuring yourself and others when you operate an off-road vehicle while intoxicated, but you will also most likely receive a DUI when you are pulled over.
State Laws on Operating Recreational Vehicles Under the Influence of Alcohol
Operating an ATV, snowmobile or a motorboat while intoxicated is illegal in all 50 states, and you may receive a similar penalty for operating a recreational vehicle while under the influence as you would for driving a motor vehicle on public roads.
Remember, it is important to look up your local DUI/DWI laws as they can vary by state. These few examples demonstrate how each state’s law can vary:
- The state of Washington has separate charges depending if you’re operating an ATV, snowmobile or motorboat on private property versus if you are on a public roadway. If you’re on private property, you face less-severe penalties.
- In California, it is illegal to operate hoverboards on public sidewalks if you’re intoxicated.
- Boating under the influence (BUI) is illegal in every state, and in places like Delaware, law enforcement officials do not require “probable cause” to stop and board your boat.
In summary, if it has an engine, you can probably be charged for operating it while under the influence. Be sure you take the time to learn about the DUI/DWI penalties where you live and stay up-to-date on any changes that are made.
Minnesota Off-Road DWI Law
The Minnesota state legislature has recently updated their DWI laws regarding popular off-road vehicles following the death of 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., who died after being struck by a snowmobile driven by a man whose driver’s license was revoked after multiple DWI offenses. If you are convicted of a DWI while operating either a snowmobile or an ATV, your snowmobile and ATV privileges will be suspended for a year. Your motorboat privileges will be also be suspended for 90 days. In the past, laws granted an exception for first-time offenders of a DWI conviction while operating one of these off-road vehicles.
An ATV, snowmobile or motorboat DWI conviction will now cause a full revocation of your Minnesota driver’s license for a period of time, and will also give you the opportunity or requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed on your personal road vehicle.
Intoxalock has more than 90 service locations across the state of Minnesota. If you have any questions about installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, or about how a recreational vehicle DWI or DUI will affect you, please contact one of our representatives at (888) 283-5899.
Intoxalock Can Help
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