Court: Drunk driving laws don't apply to Segways

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The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that police can't charge someone for driving a Segway while intoxicated under current state law.

Justices Tuesday issued a 2-1 decision that the two-wheeled electric vehicles are not motor vehicles under state drunken-driving laws, the Star Tribune reports.

At issue was the case of Mark Alan Greenman, of Medina. Police said he was legally drunk last February when he drove his Segway into the road and across a center line.

He was charged with third-degree driving while intoxicated and failure to operate a personal assistive mobility device with due care, the court's ruling notes.

But Greenman represented himself in court and moved to have the charges thrown out, arguing that the Segway, with its top speed of 12 mph, "is not a motor vehicle for purposes of criminal prosecution under the impaired-driving code," the court's decision notes.

A Hennepin County judge agreed, and the county attorney's office appealed.

The appeals court cited a case of a Grand Rapids man who was charged in July 2009 with third-degree driving while impaired for operating a motorized scooter while drunk. But that charge was dismissed because the scooter was not defined by law as a motor vehicle.

The Segway, introduced in 2001 with great marketing fanfare as a life-changing invention, failed to live up to the hype, although it has become popular with some security and police departments and as a sight-seeing vehicle for tourists.

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