Drivers who drink and mo-ped may be faced with harsher penalties in South Carolina in the near future. State lawmakers from Spartanburg County want to toughen DUI laws by defining a mo-ped as a motor vehicle.
Currently, a loophole in the law makes it so mo-peds are exempt from the same drinking and driving laws as other vehicles.
The law was tested recently when a man was charged in Cherokee County with a DUI while operating a mo-ped. The case, hwoever, was eventually dropped because of the loophole, 7th Circuit Principal Deputy Solicitor Barry Barnette said to news reports Tuesday.
The loophole only allows officers to ticket drunk mo-ped drivers with disorderly conduct. The lawmakers, however, say the punishment is not enough.
State Reps. Derham Cole Jr. and Eddie Tallon announced Tuesday they have pre-filed a bill for the next legislative session that will close the loophole excluding mo-peds as motor vehicles, according to news reports. It would allow drunk mo-ped drivers to be issued a DUI.
"This bill is really simple, but it's going to have a great impact on public safety," Cole said.
As a North Charleston personal injury lawyer , I think it's a good idea to keep drunk drivers off the road, even if they are driving a mo-ped. While mo-peds may cause less damage than a drunk driver behind the wheel of a vehicle, operating a vehicle under the influence is extremely dangerous. It could cause harm to the driver, as well as anyone in its path.