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Santa Clara County Writing New DUI Rules For Electric Scooter Riders

SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) -- The city of San Jose, like many other communities, is in the middle of creating policies to regulate motorized scooters and bicycles.

One of the first cases of someone being charged with a DUI while riding an electric scooter popped up recently in Los Angeles County. A 28-year-old man pleaded guilty to operating a motorized scooter while under the influence of alcohol.

The man struck another pedestrian and was charged with a hit and run.

Driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is unsafe and illegal statewide, whether the driver is operating a car, a motorcycle or a scooter.

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"We always want people to travel carefully. And operating a motorized scooter when you're drunk is certainly a bad idea," said Collin Heyne, a spokesperson for the San Jose Department of Transportation.

Captain Wahid Kazem of the Santa Clara Police Department said that there thankfully haven't been any serious incidents involving electric scooters in Santa Clara. However, Kazem warned that the combination of alcohol, drugs and the quick electric scooters is a dangerous cocktail that shouldn't be mixed.

"To make an impact at 15 or 20 miles per hour, you can really hurt somebody. They're not expecting the impact," explained Kazem.

Even owners and riders of the scooters realize the dangers presented by operating one while under the influence.

"If you're under the influence of any substance and you're on a scooter, you should stop. It's dangerous. Someone could get hurt. You could get hurt," warned scooter rider David Garcia.

KPIX 5 reached out to the Santa Clara District Attorney's office on Friday. Their spokesperson said no one in their office could remember ever prosecuting a case involving a scooter.

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