Serious injury lawyer sets out major change to e-scooter laws as driving licence verification introduced
From 5 December, people wishing to hire an e-scooter will be required legally to provide their name, driving licence number and a photograph of the front of their driving licence to hire operators.
Operators will need to have a system in place for verifying and storing the details provided and be able to provide this information to the police upon request. While a valid full or provisional driving licence is already a mandatory requirement for hiring e-scooters, the requirement for details to be obtained, verified and stored by operators is being introduced as a new measure in the pending legislation.
Since trials of e-scooter hire services started in July 2020, e-scooters have become a popular short-distance transport choice for both locals and tourists alike. However, various concerns have been raised about e-scooter hire usage including road safety issues.
More than 1000 e-scooter collision casualties and 12 deaths
E-scooter users are a vulnerable road user group who are particularly susceptible to injuries. They’re unprotected by the body of a vehicle and they can be difficult for other road users to see. In 2022, the government said that there were 1,402 collisions involving e-scooters and it’s estimated that 356 e-scooter users were seriously injured, 782 were slightly injured and 12 people were killed, including 11 e-scooter riders, in those collisions.
In 2022, the most commonly injured e-scooter users were men and boys aged 10 – 19. Fifteen of those injured were aged nine or under. The introduction of the requirement to provide verifiable driving licence details should more robustly restrict the ability to hire e-scooters to those aged 17 and over, which will hopefully result in a reduction in the number of young users involved in e-scooter collisions.
Safety rules already in place
There are various safety rules already in place in relation to the use of hire e-scooters including:
- Riders aren’t permitted to carry more than one person on an e-scooter
- They can’t be intoxicated
- They’re not permitted to ride on pavements.
Hope tighter legislation will improve road safety for all
There are various reasons to hope that the pending change in legislation may assist in improving the safety of not only e-scooter hire users but those they share the roads with.
While the change in legislation will not eliminate the possibility of users breaching these rules, it can be hoped that by users being readily identifiable by police due to their driving licence details being verified and stored, they might be inclined to be responsible and follow these rules. Additionally, users with valid driving licences are more likely to have a better understanding of road safety and the importance of complying with safety rules and regulations.
It can also be hoped that if users are providing verifiable driving licence details which are available on request by police, this may deter them from engaging in particularly reckless or anti-social driving of e-scooters. Police may also now be more easily able to identify and take action against those engaging in illegal or dangerous use of e-scooters, thereby potentially reducing the recurrence of such behaviour.
Through my work as a serious injury lawyer I too often see the devastating impact road collisions can have and how clients are often left needing specialist support and rehabilitation.
We can be hopeful that legislation coming into force on 5 December is a positive step in the right direction in order to protect the safety of e-scooter users and other road users. However, the vulnerability of e-scooter users remains a concern.
Calls for e-scooter training and education have arisen from various sources in order to further encourage safe e-scooter usage and protect the safety of all road users.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting e-scooter riders and other road users involved in collisions at our dedicated e-scooter claims section. Alternatively, to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.