North Carolina Passes Moped Insurance Law, Raises DMV Fees
For North Carolina moped enthusiasts, the free ride is over. The state recently required users to register their mopeds with the Division of Motor Vehicles and, effective July 1, 2016, will require riders to carry the statutory minimum level of liability insurance. While some deride the new laws as unnecessary government intrusion that burdens the poor, supporters say moped riders have an obligation like any other motorists to protect the public as well as themselves.
Proponents of the law are concerned that many moped operators are riding drunk and should have to carry insurance to protect the public. A 2014 study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that 39 percent of moped operators who needed treatment had alcohol in their system, as opposed to 24 percent of patients treated after car accidents. Similarly, Carolinas Medical Center reported that half of all moped operators it treated in 2011 had been drinking.
However, critics of the bill took exception to the categorization of moped operators as drunks. They claim that many are working poor, taking pains to reduce the cost of transportation. Although 32 states regulate moped use, only 21 states require operators to carry insurance. Depending on the operator’s driving record, the insurance requirement could cost anywhere from $80 to almost $400 per year, on top of the new DMV requirement.
DMV fees are also on the rise. Driver license fees are going up five dollars per year, so a license valid for eight years will cost an extra $40. Municipalities that used to be able to charge a local vehicle tax of five dollars can now charge up to $30. The state has also begun to tax the cost of labor on car repairs, in addition to the tax on parts you already pay. Finally, if you are late registering your vehicle, there will be an additional fee of at least $15.
In the wake of all these added fees, it’s not easy to support the added expense of the insurance requirement. However, in our practice, we have represented several moped riders who got into accidents with motor vehicles, where the moped operator suffered serious injury. But in too many cases, the driver of the car, though at fault, did not carry liability insurance. The moped riders, under no obligation to carry insurance, found themselves out of luck. From this standpoint, a law requiring moped operators to have vehicle insurance is a very positive step.
If you are in a vehicle accident in North Carolina, the Law Offices of Brian deBrun PLLC are prepared to help. To learn how our personal service can deliver positive results, schedule a free consultation by calling 704-412-4258 or contacting our Charlotte office online.