South Carolina moves to close moped drunk driving loophole

By Ben Hooper
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CHARLESTON, S.C., April 27 (UPI) -- South Carolina lawmakers are moving to close a loophole that immunizes moped riders from being cited for driving while intoxicated.

State Sen. Greg Hembree, R-District 28, said moped regulation in the state is in "crisis" and he is co-sponsoring a bill that aims to close the loophole that protects moped drivers from DWI regulation by having them defined as "motor vehicles."


South Carolina state law currently defines a "motor vehicle" as "every vehicle which is self propelled, except mopeds."

Hembree said the Transportation Committee is looking into a number of measures related to moped safety, including requiring registration and insurance to drive on roads.

State Rep. Walt McLeod, D-Little Mountain, said he is opposing the legislation in the state House due to provisions that would ban mopeds, forbidden in the state from driving faster than 30 mph, from roads with a speed limit higher than 45 mph.

McLeod said many rural moped owners have to take 55 mph roads to get to work.

"There seems to have been a coalition at work to basically forbid mopeds from being functional transportation devices," McLeod told The Post and Courier. "People don't want them around. I don't know why."


Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said mopeds cause trouble on faster-moving roads because of their slow top speed.

"Any time you have a person driving half of the speed of everyone else, it's going to be a problem," Richardson told WBTV-TV.

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