Bill proposed to improve safety regulations for moped drivers

Moped drivers around South Carolina may soon be forced to stay off certain roads, wear protective gear, and have flashing rear lights.

Those restrictions are part of Bill 4384 making its way through State Legislature.

Beakale Hailu, is a Junior at Coastal Carolina University. He can't afford a car, so his main source of transportation is a moped.

"I think anybody would like to have a moped over a car just based on gas. But as far as safety is concerned, anybody would rather have a car," said Hailu.

Hailu knows first hand just how dangerous mopeds can be. This past November he got into an wreck on Highway 501.

"I just see headlights right behind me. It all just happened right then and there so I got struck by an SUV by a driver who wasn't paying attention," said Hailu.

Dangers like that are what led State Representative Bill Whitmire to propose a bill requiring moped drivers to wear reflective vests and have flashing red lights on the backs of moving mopeds.

The bill would also make it illegal for mopeds to be on any public state road that has a speed limit of 45 mph or more.

The bill passed the House Wednesday and now heads to the Senate.

Hailu says if it passes, it would be more difficult for him to get around.

"If they do pass the bill, it will be hard for me cause Hwy. 544 and Hwy. 501 are my main two ways of getting home, work and school," said Hailu.

Herb Nason says he agrees with the bill. He says moped drivers are a danger to themselves, and other drivers. "They don't go fast enough, and they hold up traffic," said Hailu.

The fine for a person who violates the bill would be found guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, would be fined up to $200, or face up to 30 days in jail.

If the bill passes the Senate, it still has to be signed by the Governor.