The story: Two men from Austin, Texas, were arrested after riding a mule and horse through the city's East Sixth Street district. The two men were initially charged with drunken driving, but the charges were reduced to public intoxication as the four-legged creatures could not be considered "motor vehicles." Only in Texas? Apparently not. A Montana public service announcement (see video below) advises drinkers to ride a horse home after a night out to avoid getting in trouble. Should riding horses while intoxicated merit a DUI?
The reaction: Some states hold that a horse is a vehicle, says Stephen M. Bainbridge at his Professor Bainbridge blog. North Carolina and Kansas agree that the word vehicle is broad enough to cover "not only automobiles and animal-drawn vehicles, but every device upon or by which any person may be transported," including "ridden animals." But Utah, for example, says that a horse is not a "device," whereas a vehicle is. That's right, says Texas attorney David Escamilla, as quoted in the Austin American-Statesman. "To be absolutely sure, I watched a few episodes of 'The Lone Ranger,' and not once did I hear the masked man refer to Silver as a 'device.'" See the ad:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
Subscribe to the Week