A 56-year-old Florida man was taken into custody on a charge of driving under the influence by Port Saint Lucie Police after driving his Snapper riding lawn mower erratically down U.S. Highway 1 two weeks ago. Riding on the lawn mower with him was a case of Budweiser beer. The arresting officer noted that he clearly smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the man. Upon submitting to breath testing at the station, police confirmed the man’s intoxication. In fact, his blood alcohol content was at least three times more than the amount of Florida’s .08 legal limit.
The Florida man wasn’t the first person who was arrested for driving a lawn mower while intoxicated. In 2015, a 25-year-old Pennsylvania man with three prior drunk driving convictions in the last 10 years was arrested for driving his Cub Cadet riding lawn mower down a highway. He was transporting a case of beer on his lawn mower too. Before that, a 51-year-old Maine man was arrested after making an unsuccessful beer run on a riding mower, the make and model of which was unspecified. A liquor store employee turned the obviously intoxicated man away and called police. He was stopped shortly after that.
The Florida case appears to turn on whether the Snapper riding mower is a motor vehicle under Florida law. That’s an issue for a judge to decide. Florida Statutes section 320.01(1)(a) defines a motor vehicle as an “automobile, motorcycle, truck, trailer, semitrailer, truck tractor, and semitrailer combination, or any other vehicle operated on the roads of this state, used to transport persons or property, and propelled by power other than muscular power.”
About 10 days after the Florida man was arrested, a Florida woman was detained for suspected driving under the influence when riding a horse on a roadway. Whether a horse is a motor vehicle under Florida law might be a question for another judge to decide. With simple dumb luck, the woman might have picked a winner.