Wisconsin Judge Rules DUI Laws Apply To Riding Lawnmowers, Sparks Panic Among Midwest Dads

Did a Wisconsin appeals court judge fully understand the ramifications of their recent ruling extending drunk-driving laws to riding lawnmowers? Summer landscaping will never be the same again in America's Dairyland, as the Associated Press reports the court ruled "operating a riding mower while drunk carries the same penalties as driving a car while intoxicated."

The ruling comes in the case of a man arrested for drunk driving in 2017 as he rode his mower down the streets of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, after leaving a bar. What followed was the man's fourth conviction drunk-driving offense; he appealed the decision to a higher court. Tuesday, the 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled that the same penalties for drunkenly operating a Subaru, Land Rover, Expedition, Prius, or other car or truck also apply to operating John Deeres and Toros.

What this means for the summer tradition of "lawnmower beers" is unclear. Lawnmower beer is an actual term, designating a low-alcohol, easy-drinking beer that a person could enjoy a few of while, yes, mowing the lawn. (Houston's Saint Arnold Brewing Company even brews a year-round kölsch called Fancy Lawnmower.) Surely enjoying a couple sub-5%-ABV beers while mowing the lawn would still be acceptable—just remember to keep that mower on your property and off city streets.