Moped safety bill reintroduced by ‘persistent’ SC senator

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – After the number of moped deaths in South Carolina increased almost 60% from 2014 to 2015, South Carolina Senator, Greg Hembree, introduced a moped safety bill.

Governor Nikki Haley vetoed the bill last year, stating government overreach, but the South Carolina House of Representatives overrode her veto. When the bill went to the Senate, time ran out.

“That was what we were debating when time ran out on the very last day of session last year,” said Senator Hembree. “It was kind of heartbreaking because we came very close to saving some lives.”

Hembree pre-filed the bill again for the 2017 session.

“It’s about safety,” he said. “It’s really about protecting the moped rider more than anybody else.”

The bill has several statutes to protect moped riders. It would first create one definition of mopeds which would make them subject to South Carolina traffic laws.

“Mopeds have no regulation in South Carolina, said Hembree. “They are not subject to the traffic laws of South Carolina. You can literally get on a moped falling down drunk, be falling down drunk, ride down Highway 501 rolling all over the place and the police could stop you but they can’t arrest you for DUI.”

The bill would also require moped operators to have a moped license or a driver’s license and be at least 15-years-old. Currently, the minimum age to drive a moped is 14-years-old.

One of the most discussed parts of the bill is the statute that would require some additional safety equipment. It would require helmets for drivers and riders under 21-years-old and reflective safety vests after dark.

“The reflective vests cost $4.50 a piece. They’re a cheap piece of equipment that can really save a life,” said Hembree.

Although the bill died last year, Hembree says he’s trying again because he believes the bill will save lives.

“We’re persistent, I’m persistent. I’m a believer in this and I know it’ll work,” he added.