It is time to step away from the email, click off from Facebook and return to reality, New Yorkers.
You will not have to register your lawn mowers.
There is no inspection required, and no penalty to be paid.
The assertion going viral online that New York State lawn mower owners would have to haul their machines to inspection stations every year and plunk down $10 annually for a sticker so they can cut the grass is a hoax.
Not as many people were skeptical of the notice as one might think. Just ask the staff of the Chautauqua County Clerk’s Office.
“We have had people calling – they are upset,” said Tracie Kaminski Haskin, deputy county clerk. “They wonder who’s going to be checking on this, and how do they know if people are wearing OSHA-approved gear.”
The callers have been all ages and genders, and Kaminski Haskin said even her friends have been asking her about it on Facebook.
This is what the message says about this new way the state supposedly found to get money from its residents:
“Starting in August 15, 2014 you have have (sic) your lawn mower safety inspected in New York.
“Any automotive service station currently licensed for motorcycle, car & truck safety inspections can inspect your mower. The NYS inspection fee is $10.00.”
It goes on to say the mower must meet a list of criteria, including being rust-free, not bent or wobbly and operating at “less than 85db. sound level.” It also says whoever is pushing or riding the machine “must wear all OSHA approved safety gear (safety glasses, hearing protection, and proper steel toe safety shoes).”
Perhaps it was the steel-toe shoes that put people over the edge, or maybe it was the warning that failure to comply would result in a $50 fine plus a $30 surcharge.
The message that circulated on Facebook also often contained a Photoshopped image of an “actual” inspection certificate.
Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore was somewhat sympathetic to his callers.
In a news release, he said, “Unfortunately, New Yorkers are taxed and regulated at every turn, it seems, so the spoof regarding a new law to have lawn mowers inspected seemed to many area residents like it could be legitimate.”
Echoing the concern of many others online who realized the notice was a fake, Barmore added, “Let’s just hope this spoof didn’t give anyone any ideas.”