An alarming moped trend

COLUMBIA (WACH) - Justin Clark, manager and part owner of Hawg Scooters, has been using a moped as his secondary mode of transportation ever since his days at USC.

Now graduated, he still uses a moped to run errands around town.

"It's easy to find a parking spot. It's a lot more advantageous to ride a moped. It's easier to park. You don't have to pay parking meters as well. You can park it at a bike rack. There's a lot of advantages. You save gas and time." says Justin.

While Justin says he hasn't run into many issues driving around town, he thinks problems can pop up when moped drivers travel busier roads.

"When you get away from town, when the roads speed up, for instance like 45-55 miles per hour, are when you run into a lot of issues I think because cars are just coming up so much faster on the mopeds." Justin explains.

Issues that could play a part in why the number of moped deaths in South Carolina are already on pace to be much higher than 2013.

"In 2013, we had 25 moped fatalities here in South Carolina. So far this year, in the first six months, we've encountered 20 fatalities." says Lance Corporal David Jones of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Justin and the Highway Patrol both agree that one of the reasons moped fatalities may be higher this year is the simple fact that more people than ever are driving them around.

"There's just so many more people out on mopeds today. They just see the advantage to riding a moped and you know, a lot more people are buying them." states Justin.

With more mopeds on the roads, the Highway Patrol wants you to be extra careful when you're behind the wheel

"We want to urge motorists to be careful. A moped travelling 25 miles an hour on the highway, you're travelling 45, that distance is shortened greatly. And a lot of motorists are unaware that these vehicles are travelling at minimal speeds, so again, we want motorists to be mindful." says Jones.

Advice that Justin certainly hopes gets taken to heart.

"Just be respectful of other riders. They have just as much right to be on the road as you do." Justin concludes.