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 Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears

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Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears Empty
PostSubject: Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears   Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears EmptyFri 21 Sep 2018, 12:11 pm

A submission to a Senate inquiry has raised concerns some mobility scooter drivers are using the form of transport to avoid police breath testing.

The senate inquiry has been investigating the use of mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs, and whether tighter regulation is needed to avoid injury and death.

It has recommended nationally consistent regulation of the "devices" and further consideration of whether drivers should be required to get insurance, register their vehicles, and apply of a licence in order to get behind the wheel.

The inquiry stopped short of endorsing a previous call from Nationals Senator John Williams to drop the scooter speed limit to 6kph.

Mr Williams suggested the restriction after his wife was seriously injured by a scooter.

The inquiry also noted a small number of the 133 submissions raised "serious concerns about mobility scooter drivers being affected by drugs or alcohol when travelling on roads or footpaths".
Some scooter users driving home from club on footpath

Deputy local controller of the NSW State Emergency Service in Ballina, Charles Nicholson, provided a written submission to the inquiry detailing his concerns about the practice.

He said some users "deliberately use a motorised mobility scooter to specifically drive to hotels and registered clubs to drink alcohol and drive home on the footpath under the belief that they will not be stopped or breathalysed by police".

Mr Williams also said "a number of NSW police" expressed their frustrations to him about the lack of enforceable regulations for scooter users.

Another submission provided an account from someone who said they witnessed an intoxicated neighbour using a mobility scooter.

The inquiry also heard from Monash University's Department of Forensic Medicine, which estimated 132 scooter-related deaths had been recorded in Australia between 2000 and 2017.

Only three were pedestrian deaths.

Furthermore, about 350 people end up in hospital as a result of a scooter injury each year, according to previous data.

At the same time the inquiry heard powerful evidence about the potential for a crackdown on the rights of scooter drivers to impinge on people's human rights.
Ensuring older Australians not discriminated against

A submission from community member Marg Bell argued further regulation would "have the effect of condemning a community already struggling to cope with the normal activities of everyday life".

Senator Williams had initially called for consideration of a 6kph speed limit for scooters, to reduce the severity of collisions but the inquiry did not make a recommendation to reduce the speed limit for scooters.

It heard evidence that scooter drivers should be able to make their own decisions about speed.

There were also submissions from human right advocacy groups about the importance of ensuring disabled and older Australians were not discriminated against under any legislative changes.

Stakeholders also raised the issue of personal responsibility, arguing safety was not the sole responsibility of the scooter driver.

"Stakeholders argued that pedestrians not watching where they are going, people texting or talking on phones, bicycles and skateboards travelling too fast, and vehicles blocking footpaths can also pose a danger," the inquiry report found.
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Fears mobility scooters being used to dodge booze bus Senate inquiry hears
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