Florida Dealership Markets a ‘DUI scooter’

By Mike

In Clearwater, Florida, a motor scooter dealership decided to implement an aggressive campaign to meet the needs of “specialized” market by offering what they call “DUI scooters.”

These “DUI scooters” are small, electric mopeds that are bright red and blue, with pedals, headlights and windshields. They don’t go more than 20 miles per hour, though, and they meet the federal description of a “low-speed electric bicycle,” according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times.

In other words, you don’t need a driver’s license to drive one, and those who have had their license suspended because of DUI may have another way to get around.

Doug Vitello and Gary Parr are the owners of Sunset Scooters. They were finding that they couldn’t quite meet the needs of their potential customers, so they did a little research into the DUI laws.

It turned out that the motorized scooter in question was an attractive option for those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor DUI, who had their driver’s license suspended and needed everyday transportation.

And while current Florida law may allow these scooters to be driven without a license, a driver could still face DUI charges if found to be driving one of these under the influence. DUI laws, afterall, apply to the operation of any vehicle, including scooters, boats, lawn mowers and more.

When Vitello and Parr learned this fact, they went searching for a scooter that was legal to drive without a license. They found one, made in China and distributed out of California. Then they put a sign in their window that said “DUI Scooters.”

When they sell a “DUI scooter” to a customer, Sunset Scooters provides customers with a copy of the law that says they are legal to drive without a license. They also recommend that customers laminate the law and carry it with them, to avoid misunderstandings with the police.

“At first we had some trouble with law enforcement basically not understanding what these were,” said Vitello. “Even some judges were completely mystified. But now they all seem to be on board.”

The so-called “DUI scooters,” made by X-treme Scooters and costing upwards of $2,000, look similar to regular motor scooters, if a little smaller, with narrower wheels and the pedals sticking out of the side.

The police in Clearwater were not so sure about the vehicle. Sgt. Tom Nestor told the St. Petersburg Times, “We’ll just say they’re under review for now.” The agency was, according to the article, “trying to determine exactly what these scooters are and how to handle them.”

Word of mouth has spurred the scooter sales. Sunset Scooters now sells around 10 per month. Parr and Vitello say that they came up with the “DUI scooter” term themselves.



Woman Charged with DUI while Taking her Child to School

By Topher

A Florida woman’s decision to drink and drive is once again highlighting the unexpected consequences a DUI can have.

Tampa Bay Online reports a that a 39-year-old woman is accused of driving an 11-year-old child to school while under the influence of illegal drugs. According to police, she crashed her car into another car, and into a fence.

The child was in the passenger seat of the car when the incident occurred. She was not injured, though she was too upset to go to school and went home with her father.

The incident surrounds the mother, Lena K. Maki, who was driving her child to Chasco Elementary at around 9:30 in the morning when she collided with the other car. Maki, seeing what she had done, attempted to leave the scene of the accident. She drove over a curb and into one of the school’s fences in her attempt to flee.

A nearby individual ultimately pulled their car in front of Maki’s, to prevent her from leaving the scene of the accident. According to the police report, Maki also attempted to flee on foot but troopers prevented her from doing so. One sheriff saw her throw her keys into the grass, but he was able to retrieve them as they returned to the school.

When police were finally able to interact with Maki, she nodded off several times as they spoke to her. Her words were slurred, and she attempted to lean against her Jeep for support. Instead, she fell over in the grass, where she proceeded to urinate on herself.
Maki failed field sobriety tests, and it was the observation of the police that she was under the influence of a controlled substance.

The Florida Highway Patrol is reporting that Maki is charged with DUI, child neglect, leaving the scene of an accident and DUI with damage to property or person.



Up to 300 Broward County Florida DUI Cases Could be Thrown Out

By Mary Ann

Some Florida DUI cases may be dismissed after Broward County Sheriff’s Office DUI technicians used tap water, instead of distilled water, to run maintenance checks on breath-test machines. A Florida appellate court upheld a Broward County judge’s decision to throw out breathalyzer results showing that a Boca Raton Florida driver was DUI. Florida officials had attempted to show that although using tap water to test the breath-test machines is against Florida regulations, it didn’t affect the BAC results from the machines. The defense attorney in the Boca Raton case has argued that using tap water to test the machines could result in false positive tests or elevate the breath-alcohol (BAC) readings

The defense attorney said that up to 300 DUI cases could be thrown out. Prosecutors say only about 50 DUI cases may be affected.