Cooler Runnings

Published August 31, 2011

An Australian court had to grapple with a weighty legal issue recently: Is a homemade motorized beer cooler a “motor vehicle?”

A 23-year-old Australian man was caught driving his motorized beer cooler while drunk. When he appeared in court, he challenged the charges, arguing the beer cooler is not a “motor vehicle” under the drunken driving law.

The man’s lawyer explained the man and a friend bought a small motor on eBay and attached it to the beer cooler. It wasn’t working, so the pair fixed it while having a “few drinks.” Then they took it for a “test drive” and were apprehended. The man claimed he didn’t know the beer cooler, which has a top speed of 12 miles per hour, was a “motor vehicle.”

The judge wasn’t buying it. “If he’d been drunk on a horse he’d have been OK,” the judge said, fining the man $500. The judge did want to know, though, “how much beer can it hold?”

Source: Kevin Underhill, “Another Motorized-Beer-Cooler DUI,” lowering the bar, August 16, 2011