In February, we wrote that Wisconsin authorities and lawmakers are increasingly cracking down on drivers who allegedly drive intoxicated in recreational vehicles. This includes snowmobiles, boats, ATVs and other vehicles.
People don’t always realize it, but operating nearly any motorized or powered vehicle while intoxicated is illegal and could result in DUI charges. As one Wisconsin man recently discovered, the law also applies to riding lawnmowers.
Late last month, a 69-year-old man from Jackson was pulled over for driving his riding lawnmower down the street. This is already prohibited in and of itself, which is what prompted the traffic stop.
But according to officer testimony and video footage taken from the squad car, the lawnmower driver did not immediately understand that he was being pulled over. In a news interview, the officer explained: “I had my lights on and hit my siren a few times trying to get his attention and he just kept saying ‘go around, go around.'”
Eventually, the man did pull over in or near a Walgreen’s parking lot. The officer said the man claimed to have had one beer, but a breath test revealed an alleged blood-alcohol concentration of 0.21 percent.
According to the officer, he also discovered three previous drunk driving arrests on the man’s record, and that his license had been suspended. This stop ended in yet another arrest and a fourth OWI charge.
An incident like this might be humorous to some people, but it illustrates a serious point. It is important to know that Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws do not only apply to cars and trucks. With that in mind, please keep your riding lawnmower in the yard where it belongs.
Daily Mail, “Mowing while intoxicated? Moment man was pulled over on LAWNMOWER and charged with his FOURTH DUI (but only the first while driving a trimmer),” June 2, 2012
WTVR.com, “Officer: 69-year-old on lawnmower busted for drunk driving,” Nick Dutton, May 30, 2012