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Do You Need a License to Drive a Mobility Scooter?

In most cases, individuals don’t need a license to drive a mobility scooter. Still, many seniors who rely on mobility scooters to help them commute and complete daily living tasks worry that they’re the exception. Considering that operating certain vehicles without a license can result in fines and even jail time in some places, individuals who use mobility scooters do have cause for concern. However, they may not know where to turn to find answers. Fortunately, state government websites and offices can provide clear answers to give seniors peace of mind.

States Develop Their Own Vehicle Classification Systems

State governments determine the laws for the roads within their borders. As a result, each state establishes its own definition of what is and isn’t a recreational vehicle. In addition, legislators decide whether various recreational vehicles should require a license. They also create the criteria for licensing. Most states do require recreational registration and licensing for recreational vehicles driven on public roads.

Most Mobility Scooters Are Not Recreational Vehicles

Most mobility scooters don’t travel fast enough to fit the definitions of a recreational vehicle established by states. This means that no license is necessary to operate them.

Scooters capable of traveling at speeds of more than 5 miles per hour are a possible exception. Due to their faster traveling speeds, these scooters may fit the definition of a recreational vehicle, possibly making licenses necessary to operate them in certain situations. The majority of mobility scooters don’t go faster than 5 miles per hour.

Although most older adults don’t need a license to operate their mobility scooters, they do need to comply with state laws. Most states allow people to drive mobility aids, such as electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters, along the berm of the road but not in the normal flow of traffic.

Departments of Motor Vehicles Have the Answers Seniors Need

Because state laws vary, individuals who use mobility scooters need to become familiar with the rules in place in their locality. Depending on the state, the department of transportation or the department of motor vehicles can provide more detailed information. Often, a quick search of the agency’s website can provide answers. Otherwise, older adults can contact their nearest DMV location or a statewide hotline by phone for assistance.