The North Carolina House of Representatives is working on a bill that could affect more people than lawmakers have figured. The bill would require moped operators to have license plates and to carry insurance. The measure stops short of also requiring that moped operators have a driver’s license.
Opponents say that, with or without the license, the effect is the same. They argue that the bill unfairly targets individuals whose driver’s licenses have been suspended or revoked and other individuals who rely on a moped to get around.
Let’s back up a bit. We often discuss car and truck accidents and the criminal charges that can follow. We know, for example, that the state will suspend someone’s license for a year if he is convicted of speeding over 75 miles per hour. We know that a DWI can result in a suspended or revoked license, depending on how many DWI convictions the driver has already.
What exactly qualifies as a vehicle under those laws can be hard to pin down. The statutes talk about devices upon which a person or property may be “transported or drawn upon a highway.” You are not alone in thinking, “Uhhh…yeah,” but you probably have an idea of what lawmakers were talking about.
Then you get to the exceptions. A vehicle is not a device “moved by human power” or that rides exclusively along fixed rails or tracks. So Fred Flintstone’s car is exempt (it is Fred’s feet that propel the vehicle, even if he inexplicably stops for gas every now and then), as are bicycles and trolleys. But wait, bicycles are not excluded, because they are deemed vehicles when driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is involved.
It may be a relief to know that horses are not vehicles, even if they transport or draw people or property along a highway.
What about mopeds? We’ll explain how licensing laws apply to mopeds in our next post.
WRAL, “Moped insurance bill advances,” Laura Leslie, June 19, 2014
West’s North Carolina General Statutes Annotated, via Westlaw.com