With the role out of rental E-Scooters in Regina last week, we have been asked this question multiple times. As the title indicates, the answer is yes. Not only can you be charged criminally with impaired driving and/or driving at .08 or over, you can also be fined under The Traffic Safety Act for a number of traffic offences which have recently been introduced by our provincial government through The Limited Speed Motor Vehicle Regulations.
The purpose of this article is to serve as a timely reminder to all individuals that the operation of E-Scooters, while fun and available at the touch of a button, carries a significant level of responsibility. Despite how easy they are to access and operate, criminal liability and other legal consequences can result from improper use.
The Criminal Code defines a "conveyance" as a motor vehicle, a vessel, and aircraft or railway equipment. The Criminal Code further defines a "motor vehicle" as a vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power, but does not include railway equipment. Battery power constitutes a "means other than muscular power". An E-Scooter is therefore a "conveyance" as defined by the Criminal Code.
This is distinguished from manually powered bicycles, skateboards, roller-blades or scooters. Despite what your friends may have told you, manually powered devices such as bicycles are not considered "conveyances" and do not attract the same criminal liability when used in combination with drugs and/or alcohol.
In Canada, it is a criminal offence to operate a conveyance while your ability to do so is impaired by drugs and/or alcohol or if you blood alcohol level is at .08 or higher at the time of driving or within 2 hours after driving. If you are found guilty of either criminal offence, you will receive a mandatory fine, a driving prohibition, surcharges as well as a criminal record. You will also be required to enter into SGI's interlock program, pay fines and surcharges and complete a number of remedial courses. If you seriously injure someone while drinking and driving, you will almost certainly receive a significant jail sentence upon conviction.
Just like a car or truck, it is a criminal offence to operate an E-Scooter when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. If you are leaving the bar on the Dewdney strip, think twice before jumping on an E-Bike or E-Scooter.
In addition to Criminal liability, The Limited Speed Motor Vehicle Regulations sets out a number of further restrictions, including:
- Operating an E-Scooter on a road or public path within a municipality that has not approved E-Scooters;
- Operating an E-Scooter if you are under 16 years of age;
- Operating an E-Scooter on a road with a speed limit greater than 50 km/hr;
- Operating an E-Scooter without a bell or horn, without its battery securely fastened or with electrical terminals not completely insulated or covered;
- Operating an E-Scooter without a light on the front and rear;
- Operating an E-Scooter without a helmet;
- Operating an E-Scooter without at least one hand on the handlebar;
- Operating an E-Scooter in a position other than standing on the platform;
- Transporting another person on an E-Scooter;
- Towing another person, vehicle, motor vehicle, bicycle or device with an E-Scooter;
- Allowing an E-Scooter to be towed; and
- Leaving an E-Scooter in a location intended for the movement of traffic.
If you are found committing any of the above actions, you may be issued a traffic ticket pursuant to The Traffic Safety Act.
E-Scooters are fun and offer a relatively cheap means of transportation. Their accessibility may create the impression that drinking and driving laws do not apply to their use. Do not be deceived by their simplicity and ease of use. Serious legal consequences can ensue if you choose to operate an E-Scooter after consuming drugs and/or alcohol.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.