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Florida Dealership Fills Niche With "DUI Scooters"

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Doug Vitello and Gary Parr, who worked in real estate before the housing collapse, bought a scooter dealership in Clearwater, Florida after business went bad.

With business "up and down," Vitello and Parr quickly identified a market segment they could corner when they kept hearing the same thing, over and over, from potential customers who walked through the door:

"I got a DUI. I lost my license. Do you have something I can use to get around?"

As gas-powered scooters require a valid driver's license, the two men found a two-wheeler that's juuuuuuust different enough to steer through a loophole in the law that hasn't been an issue until now.

It looks like a regular scooter, has headlights and all the other accoutrements that are typically found on your average Yamaha Zuma, but this one is electric and tops out at 20 mph. Oh, and it has two pedals, which "may or may not be used," meaning, uh...that they'll never be used.

The customers started pouring in after they installed a sign in their window, reading:


Anyone can buy the scooters, according to the St. Petersburg Times, but "the people who seem to want them are those who have drunken driving arrests or convictions and need an easier or less humiliating way to get around."

Like proud DUI scooter owner Mark Jackson, who, at 49, has had three DUI convictions. His brother drove him to work each day, but when his ride moved to Largo, FL, Mark was SOL.

However, now that he's got a DUI scooter, he can get to work on his own, ride to the grocery store, and says he enjoys the "quiet and relaxing ride" the electric motor provides.

Unfortunately, like all good things that are perfectly legal until someone decides that they shouldn't be, the DUI scooter's days may be numbered as the vehicle of choice for incorrigible sots all across the Sunshine State.

Sgt. Tom Nestor, a spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, told a reporter the agency is trying to determine exactly what these scooters are and how to handle them.

"We'll just say they're under review for now," he said.
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