Bill governing mopeds awaits McMaster's signature

Bill governing mopeds awaits McMaster's signature

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In hopes of making South Carolina roads safer, lawmakers push for more laws on the books to regulate mopeds. A committee of lawmakers has agreed on a bill to require more of moped operators and has sent it to the governor's desk.

Pending Gov. Henry McMaster's signature, H. 3247 will be law.

Once passed, the bill:

  • Further defines mopeds to be subject to the same road laws as other vehicles, making it easier to prosecute for DUI.
  • Requires mopeds to be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles and to display a license plate.
  • Limits the moped from traveling on roads where the speed limit is over 55 mph.
  • Requires drivers under 21 to wear a helmet.
  • Increases the minimum age to legally operate the moped from 14 to 15 years old.

The registration fee is $10, and the key behind requiring mopeds to be registered with the state is to better track the drivers who are chronic traffic law violators.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol encourages drivers to wear helmets and reflective vests -- although the vests are left out of the bill.

"You need to be mindful of your actions, know that you should always wear a helmet," Trooper David Jones said. "At night, wear something reflective because if that little brake light in the back goes out you're pretty much invisible on our roadways."

In South Carolina in 2016, there were 785 crashes involving mopeds recorded, 41 of those fatal to the moped driver.

"We see where had the moped operator had the appropriate lights on their vehicle or had they just simply a helmet on, they could have just saved their life when they wrecked," Jones said.

The bill was ratified on Monday. McMaster has until midnight Saturday to sign the bill for it to become law.

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