Mobility scooting gran fined after refusing breath test

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Mobility scooter confusion

Tina Morris, a 54-year-old from from Pen-y-Morfa near Llanelli in South Wales, has been fined £35 and given 10 penalty points on her licence, after refusing to take a breath test. She had been found on her mobility scooter, after lunch at the pub, but says she wasn't drunk.

So what rule did she fall foul of?


The Mirror reported that Morris said she had "only had two or three double vodkas" with her lunch, and had only stopped the 8mph scooter for a cigarette, and was leaning over the handles because her back was hurting.

The Llanelli Star reported that police were unable to check if she was over the limit because she refused a breath test.

The rules

Scooters fall into a peculiar part of the law because they are not classed as vehicles. However, it is still illegal to drink to excess and drive one on a public road or in a public place under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act. If you are caught doing so you will be charged with being drunk in charge of a 'carriage'.

The punishment will depend on the severity of the situation, how far over the limit the driver was and whether anyone was hurt. At the very least you are highly likely to be fined - typically £115, with a £20 victim surcharge and court costs.

In the worst case you will be banned from driving, or specifically banned from using a mobility scooter.

Morris, meanwhile, was guilty of a different law. Police suspected she was drunk in charge of a carriage, but she was definitely guilty of refusing to give a breath test - which can be punishable with anything up to a driving ban or a £1,000 fine.

Confusion

The confusion surrounding mobility vehicles abounds. People often don't know whether they can drive them after having a drink, whether they can be banned from driving them given that you don't need a licence to drive a scooter, and whether a police officer has the right to breathalyse you if you're not driving a car.

But as the endless court cases find: if you drive a scooter drunk, you will face the consequences. In some cases this has meant a ban from using the scooter which has had a profound impact on the lifestyle of disabled people who relied on their scooter for independence.

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