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Motoring law: Teen banned for drink driving on lawnmower

First the first time in British legal history, a person has been convicted of drink driving a lawnmower.

Eighteen-year-old Joel Maunder from South Wales had been drinking at his home in Dinas Powys, in the Vale of Glamorgan, when he drunkenly decided to take his father's ride-on lawnmower for a joyride on the roads near his home.

He was found a mile away from his house, driving on the wrong side of the road on the £1,700 mower that is capable of 15mph.

Richie Paul, prosecuting, said: "He was slowly travelling down a road when he was spotted by passing police.

"He was breathalysed and found to have 83 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35."

The charge that Mr Maunder originally faced was being in charge of a mechanically-propelled vehicle while unfit through drink. This is the same charge that is given for riding a bicycle while drunk.

However, Mr Paul claimed that since the lawnmower was powered by a petrol motor, the offence should be classed as drink driving.

Mr Maunder was found guilty, banned from driving any vehicle for 17 months and ordered to pay £85 to cover costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

He was told that he could reduce his ban to 13 months if he completed a driving safety course.

A spokesman for the manufacturers of the lawnmower said: "This is the first case we've ever heard of in this country of drink-driving a lawnmower although there was one in the States a few years ago.

"Naturally, we would advise people not to use this sort of machinery after drinking alcohol and clearly it should not be taken on the roadways in that condition.

"A ride-on mower is a motor-driven vehicle and subject to the same laws of the land."

Joel Maunder's mother said of the case: "It has been very embarrassing for us and we don't want to say any more."

Related links:
Read more on this story (Daily Mail)
Read some drink driving FAQs (FindLaw)
Find local motoring solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)