Man Gets His 9th Minnesota DWI – On a Riding Mower

minnesota-dwi-riding-mowerSome crimes are much more likely in summer, at least in Minnesota. Drunk driving might not be one of them, drunk driving on a riding mower is.

A 60-year-old man was arrested riding his mower on the streets of Madison Lake. His blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .28, or more than 3 times the legal level. Those facts don’t teach us much about anything, though. A riding mower can be a dangerous thing, and this man had no business driving it drunk – not even on his lawn, and certainly not on public streets.

The telling facts were:

  • The man had 8 previous DWI convictions
  • His driver’s license had been revoked

The first point is relevant because the multiple DWI offender is a serious problem on the roads. A certain segment of drunk drivers will always get back behind the wheel once they’ve had a few drinks. Eight Minnesota DWIs, with corresponding fines, alcohol education and presumably jail time and ignition interlock periods, has not stuck.

The second point is one that can’t be made often enough: license revocations don’t work. They don’t’ stop people from getting in cars and driving drunk, and they certainly don’t stop them from hopping on John Deere D130 Lawn Tractors.

Perhaps the offender in question was still under an ignition interlock order, and therefore couldn’t drive his car or truck because it wouldn’t start. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Therefore, he turned to the first non-ignition-interlock-equipped vehicle he could find to get where he wanted to go. Bad move. A DWI is a DWI no matter what the vehicle.

An ignition interlock is usually an excellent preventive for drunk driving. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) it’s prevented some 2.3 million drunk driving incidents since interlocks came into common use.

However, it is possible that a drunk driver with an ignition interlock equipped vehicle will have a riding mower in the garage, gassed up for the summer and ready to go. It’s not very likely to happen, but it can, and it did.

Our solution for this offender:

  • Ignition interlock on his vehicle, if it isn’t already there
  • Mandatory alcohol counseling and DWI classes
  • A push mower