Possible Changes for Moped Drivers
Up until recently, moped drivers have had little to worry about when it came to traffic citations in South Carolina, but state laws may be changing soon to ensure that these motorists follow the same rules as all other drivers. While the change has yet to be made into a law, The Post and Courier reports that the state House passed the bill this month with a 75-29 vote.
If the new law is accepted, applicants would need to be at least 15 years old in order to be approved for a license. Many residents refer to the vehicles as “liquorcycles,” something the bill is hoping to change by allowing law enforcement officials to charge moped drivers with a DUI if they are caught drinking and driving. Drivers would also be required to wear a reflective vest to increase visibility to other drivers, especially at night.
While many voters felt that the bill was a good compromise, there were others who thought it fell short of what was needed to insure safe moped driving. One big issue was the lack of an insurance requirement. While all other motorists on the road have to insure their vehicles to meet state laws, the bill did not require the same of moped drivers. This was one reason that some in the house voted against the bill.
Current Moped Laws
Coastal Carolina University has detailed the laws that currently exist for moped drivers. At the time of this writing, any operator must be at least 14 years old to drive a moped on a public road. Additional licensing is required, in the form of either a motorcycle or driver’s license, as well as a moped operator’s license or permit. In order to obtain these licenses and permits, the driver must pass a written test and eye exam. Furthermore, the moped must also be equipped with brake lights, running lights and at least one rear view mirror. If the operator is under 21 years old, he or she is required to have a face shield, goggles or helmet. Drivers are only allowed to carry the number of passengers for which the vehicle was designed and may not travel faster than 25 miles per hour.
While there are laws currently in place to protect all drivers on the road, the new bill would increase that protection with more requirements for moped drivers. This could also lead to more traffic citations in South Carolina for infractions such as DUIs and driving without reflective clothing on a moped.