Columbus has been drenched in rain this summer. That means, among other things, slippery road conditions, mowing the lawn more frequently and lots of driving in the rain. In honor of this rainy summer of 2013, we decided to do a quick primer on a few pertinent laws that apply in rainy conditions.
(1) You CAN Get a DUI Driving Your Lawnmower
Under Ohio law, a “vehicle” for purposes of the OVI laws is defined as any device,
“Vehicle” means “every device, including a motorized bicycle, in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway.” The only exclusions are motorized wheelchairs, electric personal assistive mobility devices, trolley cars, and devices moved by human power (except that you can get a DUI on a bicycle, even though anyone that has ridden a bike would agree that it is moved by human power). See R.C. §4511.01(A).
So this means that you can get a DUI on a bicycle, a golf cart, a motorcycle, etc.
In fact, just last week, a man was charged with an OVI in Westerville for driving his riding lawnmower at a “high rate of speed” (just how fast could a lawnmower really go?) down a sidewalk near Polaris Parkway. The man apparently crashed the mower into a creek and was trying to extract it with a backhoe when Westerville police arrived. The Dispatch report noted that the OVI charge was made after consulting with Westerville’s “drug recognition expert.”
Remember, if you have been charged with a DUI in Columbus or anywhere in Central Ohio — on a car, bicycle or riding lawnmower — talking to an experienced Ohio DUI attorney is critical toward protecting your rights and working toward the best outcome in your case.
(2) If Your Windshield Wipers Are On, Your Headlights Must Be On Too.
Under Ohio law, you must have your headlights on any time you are using your windshield wipers due to rain. ORC 4513.03(A)(3).
Note, though, that violation of this law is a minor misdemeanor and that you cannot be pulled over solely because you failed to have your lights on while your windshield wipers were on. You can be pulled over for failure to have your headlights on at other times. For example, after sunset / before sunrise or when it is just dark outside.