Law would close loophole preventing DUI charges for moped drivers

Law would close loophole preventing DUI charges for moped drivers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina lawmakers are closing a gap that could allow moped operators to drink and drive. A person operating a moped can avoid being arrested for driving under the influence, because a moped is not listed as a motor vehicle.

The Senate Transportation Subcommittee passed a measure that would cut out moped driving and drinking. The measure defines mopeds as motor vehicles, which makes them subject to the same safety laws as cars and motorcycles.

According to State Senator Greg Hembree, a Republican representing North Myrtle Beach, a measure that would classify mopeds as a motor vehicle passed the full Transportation Committee Wednesday. It will be on the Senate calendar for consideration for April 14.

Hembree said his transportation subcommittee first passed the measure on Tuesday.

Under South Carolina code, which changed several year ago, there is a loophole that jeopardizes lives on South Carolina roads, Hembree said.

Linda Griffin with Beach Cruzin' Rentals said she believes the same laws enforced for vehicles and motorcycles should apply to mopeds as well.

"The mopeds should have been a long time ago under a motor vehicle because actually they are, you can't drive them in a bicycle lane," Griffin said. "There's as much liability on a moped as there is in a car."

Griffin says they rent GEM cars, scooters, and mopeds, but no one under the age of 18 is allowed to operate any of their rental vehicles, and insurance is required, along with a valid driver's license. She says a business owner there has a level of responsibility to ensure everyone is safe.

“The law makers need to make the law, the businesses need to uphold that law; we need to reiterate how important this is, and the police need to follow through and ticketed,” Griffin explained.

If Senate makes no changes on the measure, it could go to Governor Nikki Haley for her signature to become law.

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