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A New Year and new restrictions for scooter drivers in Indiana

In Indiana, we have few laws that govern the use of low-speed scooters on our state's roadways. With a typical maximum speed of 35 mph, there didn't seem to be a need for strict regulations such as license plate or driver's license requirements.

But some business owners who specialize in the sale of these types of scooters have noticed a trend: many of the people who were buying these machines were doing so because their licenses had been suspended or revoked because of repeated traffic offenses or DUIs.

Because the law didn't require a license to operate these vehicles, repeat offenders could still get around. But some were concerned that repeat offenders were using the loophole in the law to continue driving recklessly with little fear of being punished or held accountable for their actions.

Thanks to legislation that was passed earlier this year though that will go into effect on January 1, 2015, these concerns will soon be put to rest. That's because changes to Indiana's low-speed scooter laws now require operators of moped scooters with 50 cubic centimeter engines or less to carry a state-issued identification card that will act as a sort of registration for the vehicle. Riders must also purchase special license plates for their vehicles to distinguish them from higher powered scooters.

Although the new law will still allow low-speed scooter drivers to operate these vehicles without a driver's license or insurance, the state-issued identification cards and the license plates will help law enforcement hold riders accountable for reckless or negligent driving. If the scooter driver is involved in a serious accident but flees the scene, police may still be able to find the driver responsible because they can be traced through the registration system.

This new law may come as a welcome relief to drivers here in Dearborn County who have long thought that low-speed scooter operators should be held just as accountable for their actions on the roads as other drivers.

Source: The Indy Star, "Moped scooter riders in Indiana face tighter rules," John Tuohy, Oct. 22, 2014

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