Lawnmower DUI’s

A recent DUI arrest of a man on a riding lawnmower causes us to ask the most fundamental of questions: is there such thing as a Lawnmower DUI?

In Colorado a man was recently arrested for DUI while driving his riding lawnmower from bar to bar. Not surprisingly, the use of riding lawnmowers in DUI’s also happens in Florida. (And seems to happen in Gainesville more than anywhere else…). So can you get a DUI while on a riding lawnmower going down a public road?

To answer that question let’s look at what the DUI law actually says:

Section 316.93, F.S.: A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;

(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or

(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. (emphasis added).

So it depends on whether a riding lawnmower is a vehicle. Next step – how does the law define the term vehicle? Well, while the law doesn’t actually define vehicle, it defines “motor vehicle” as this:

Section 316.003, F.S.: (21) MOTOR VEHICLE.—Except when used in s. 316.1001, a self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway, but not including any bicycle, motorized scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, swamp buggy, or moped. For purposes of s. 316.1001, “motor vehicle” has the same meaning as in s. 320.01(1)(a).

But the DUI law doesn’t say “motor vehicle” – it just says “vehicle.” Gold star. That means this could include a bicycle (“vehicle powered solely by human power… having two tandem wheels”), farm tractor (“any motor vehicle designed and used primarily as a farm implement”), or a moped (“any vehicle with pedals … with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower”). A self-propelled push mower is not defined as a “vehicle,” so potentially, you could use your non-riding mower and have it propel your drunk self around town with impunity. Like so:

But we can’t recommend it. What we can recommend is that you should never ever drive (a car, truck, or lawnmower) under the influence.