IIDs, DUII Diversion, and Absurdity: Forklifts, Skateboards, and Bicycles

Oregon’s DUII Diversion statute provides, as of January 1, 2012: “The court shall require as a condition of a driving while under the influence of intoxicants diversion agreement that an approved ignition interlock device be installed in any vehicle operated by the person during the period of the agreement when the person has driving privileges.” [http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/813.602]

The ignition interlock device (IID) requirement doesn’t apply to just “motor vehicles.” The phrase is “any vehicle.” That includes the obvious motor vehicles like motorcycles, ski-boats, and jet-skis, but what about bicycles and skateboards? ORS 801.590 (‘”Vehicle” means any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway and includes vehicles that are propelled or powered by any means.’).” At first, you might think there’s a escape valve here: ORS 801.026(6) provides, “Devices that are powered exclusively by human power are not subject to those provisions of the vehicle code that relate to vehicles.” Until you read the next sentence:  ”Notwithstanding this subsection, bicycles are generally subject to the vehicle code as provided under ORS 814.400.”

So you don’t need an ignition interlock on a non-motorized skateboardSee, e.g., State v. Smith, 184 Or App 118 (2002) (skateboard not a vehicle for purposes of Oregon Vehicle Code). You technically need an IID for your bicycle. But compliance is impossible, since bicycles sans motor are also sans ignition. In this situation, we’re left with the hope that impossibility is still a defense in the law. Cf. State v. Chilson, 219 Or App 136 (2008).

Remember, the IID requirement applies off-road too, even on private land — it’s for “any vehicle.” Riding your motorcycle in the dunes? Driving a forklift in a private warehouse for work? Both would violate the terms of your Diversion contract — if you do those things “during the period of the agreement when the person has driving privileges.” So if you ride your dirt bike in the dunes while your license is suspended (coincidentally — that’s Driving While Suspended (DWS) because the dunes are premises open to the public), you haven’t violated your Diversion agreement. If you reinstate your license and do the same, you have violated the terms of your Diversion agreement. Same goes for the forklift operator in the private warehouse.

Now, to make it more complicated: as of January 1, 2014, House Bill 2116 will amend ORS 813.602 to grant two exemptions from the IID requirement: (1) medical inability; and (2) employer-owned vehicles. For a medical exemption, the driver must prove to the court the elements of the medical exemption. For employer-owned vehicles, the driver must notify her employer that “the employee has driving privileges and is otherwise required to install an [IID] as a condition of a [DUII] diversion agreement” and must carry the notification and the reinstated license with her while driving.