Why is he mowing your dirt patch?
I’m showing him how the world works. You work, you get paid, you drink.
Bill Murray, St. Vincent

I was reading the Martinsville Bulletin today when an article titled “Bill making it legal to drive drunk at home makes it halfway through the Virginia General Assembly but fails late” caught my attention.

First of all, I didn’t know it was illegal to drive drunk at home, even if you wanted. Unless you own your own private road, how could you? But if you did, I didn’t think the law prevented a person from going on a drunken spin on their own private property.

Well, I was mistaken. Turns out “driving and drinking” doesn’t require a car or a road. A riding lawn mower and a front yard will suffice for legal purposes.

The State Senators thought it was reasonable to excuse a man drinking on his property while mowing his yard, but the Delegates over in the House said it was too difficult to tell the difference between a man drinking a beer at home and a man who was drinking on his way home and got there.

For sure, I thought the law on this matter was like baseball, once you tagged home plate you were safe. Not the case folks.

I remember reading the true story of a man that had just bought himself a brand new $50,000 dollar truck. He parked his new ride in his driveway and went inside to get a beer, salute his new toy, and admire it awhile. On the second beer, he decided to get inside in his driveway and play with the new stereo. Doing so required putting the keys in the ignition. After a while, one of his neighbors called 9-1-1 to complain about loud music. When the police arrived, they found the man in his new truck in his driveway, enjoying his new stereo with a beer in his hand. They charged him with Driving Under the Influence and confiscated his brand new truck. I remind you, this is a true story.

The House Courts of Justice subcommittee shot down the notion of applying common sense to a simple situation because they didn’t have any. On the chance you question my summation, I’ve pulled a few of their quotes from the article and added a response.

Sitting in your driveway with your car funning could mean you just got there.
You know this is a tough nut.
I would defy you to go 70 miles per hour in the curtilage of your yard.
This is not just sitting on a lawnmower enjoying a Heineken while you’re driving around.
Even driving your lawnmower drunk can endanger little kids.