Alleged scooter drinking loophole stays open
Some New South Wales residents may continue using electric mobility scooters as a way around drink-driving laws.
An inquiry has heard that people have been buying electric mobility scooters, wheelchairs and Segways as a new form of transport when they lose their license for drink-driving.
Riders are untouchable as long as they stay under 10 km/h and on the footpath, as NSW police cannot legally breathalyse them.
There had been a proposal to set up registration for the vehicles, so that users were held to higher legal requirements.
The Staysafe road safety inquiry has decided against the idea, saying it would cost too much for the elderly and disabled.
“I don't support a licensing system,” Staysafe committee-member and NSW Shadow Minister for Roads Walt Secord said.
“I think it's expensive... it is confusing and it is probably quite cumbersome to get an elderly person who is in their seventies go in and register their mobility scooter.”
Mr Secord says he would like to see the drink-driving claims investigated.
“I would like to see the Roads Minister [Duncan Gay] look at this to see if in fact people are using mobility scooters to get around drink driving convictions.”
The inquiry heard the problem was most prevalent around Newcastle and in regional areas.
The Staysafe Committee has called for more training and better assessment of customers.
“We are recommending that these scooters are not sold without appropriate training in their safe use and assessment of the user’s abilities,” Committee chair Greg Aplin said.
“Assessment and training must fall on retailers under a scheme where they can become accredited.”