A western Pennsylvania man is under arrest after driving a farm vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, reports The Associated Press.
The man was driving a combine, which is a farm utility vehicle used to harvest crops. He was driving this vehicle on Wednesday when he hit a mailbox in Elk Creek Township, approximately 20 miles southwest of Erie.
Police found the 57-year-old man in a bean field.
While most people assume that driving-while-intoxicated offenses only involve automobiles, trucks and more traditional vehicles, Pennsylvania DUI laws are far more expansive than that. In fact, just about any vehicle falls under the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania DUI law.
As long as the vehicle could be used for highway transport, it’s considered a vehicle under Pennsylvania DUI laws. Specifically, the law says that “every device” on which people or property can be transported “on a highway” falls under the definition of vehicle, for purposes of DUI law.
That includes bikes, Amish buggies, La-Z-Boy recliners, and farm vehicles. The one thing excluded, however, are devices that use rail for transport.
While in theory, this sounds like a law that wouldn’t get enforced very easily (after all, it sounds almost ridiculous to arrest someone in any of those situations), Pennsylvania DUI police, as well as local and county police in and around Pennsylvania have historically been very vigilant about enforcing DUI laws.
Interestingly, the law doesn’t single out “motor” vehicles, necessarily. In the past, they have arrested people for riding horse buggies while drunk. The same goes for bikes.
So take heed: If you plan on operating farm machinery in Pennsylvania, don’t do so while drunk. It’s a violation of law. Plus, it just can’t be good for the crops.
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