Alcohol testing a cut above the rest

Can you fail alcohol testing laws while riding a lawn mower?

We understand that drug testing and alcohol testing can be pretty serious subjects, so when a story comes along that has a slightly funny angle to it, it’s too good an opportunity to let pass.

A Sydney man has been arrested after he allegedly blew 0.167 during alcohol testing. Nothing comical or unfortunately unusual about that, you might think, except the man was driving a ride on lawnmower at the time.

According to 9, the man was charged with high-range drink driving after allegedly being caught riding the mower down a footpath on Ettalong Road in the suburb of Greystanes on Tuesday night, last week. What’s more, he claimed to have driven the mower two kilometres before he was stopped.

Because the ride on mower was over 250kgs and was subject to conditional registration requirements, the Police were able to conduct alcohol testing on the man. He allegedly blew 0.167.

We’ve heard of the term ‘half-cut’ used to describe a drunk person, but this gives it a new meaning!

The Sydney man is not the first to fall foul of alcohol testing while operating a ride on lawnmower. In 2016, Perth Police cornered a person riding a mower down a footpath on Beechboro Road. The man underwent alcohol testing and blew 0.106. And in January this year, a Brisbane man was caught riding a lawnmower while drunk. Allegedly he was on his way to buy more alcohol!

We are certainly not condoning what these and other ride on lawnmower operators have done as there is a serious side to these stories. Operating any machinery, let alone a ride on mower on the side of a road, while over the legal blood alcohol limit is risky behaviour. At 0.167, it’s downright dangerous and here’s why:

  • Blow between 0.02 to 0.03 during alcohol testing and you’ll generally be considered okay to drive (or operate a ride on mower!), but even at this level most people will be starting to feel some minor effects from the alcohol.
  • Between 0.04 and 0.06 BAC, relaxation and lower inhibitions are intensified. You may also experience some impairment of reasoning, behaviour and emotions.
  • When 0.07 to 0.09 BAC is reached, your reaction time, speech and balance are likely to be impaired. Impairment of reasoning, behaviour and emotions will increase. However, you may not notice these impairments and you may in fact think you’re in total control.
  • With BAC going over 0.1, your motor coordination will be significantly impaired. You may feel good but those around you will know you’re getting drunk, as your speech, balance, hearing and reaction time will all be affected.
  • Approaching 0.15 BAC, most people will exhibit a lack of physical control. Emotions can also change from euphoria to possibly anxiety and restlessness.
  • Between 0.16 and 0.19 BAC, the range that our ride on mower mate in Sydney blew, some people will feel nauseous and may be approaching the stage where they feel dazed, confused, disorientated and unbalanced.
  • Keep drinking and at 0.25 BAC there is an increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and serious chance of injury from falls or other accidents.
  • At 0.30 BAC, many people will pass out and those who don’t will have little idea of where or who they are.
  • Between 0.35 and 0.4 BAC, most people will be in a coma and will be at risk of death due to respiratory arrest.

Consider these facts when you next have a drink before operating any machinery.


Can you fail alcohol testing laws while riding a lawn mower? Credit aka CJ

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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