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Scooter Driver Killed in Crash by Elderly Woman in Costa Mesa

Believe us, there are many more things we’d rather be talking about than tragedy in Orange County. Get to know us and in a few minutes you’ll see that we are very positive, upbeat people. But unfortunately, some things just need to be addressed. For the sake of our past, present, and future driver’s ed students, as well as all our fellow Orange County drivers, we are going to use a recent Costa Mesa accident as a teaching tool.

This past Wednesday at around 2:30 p.m., a 35-year-old man from Orange named Oscar Alaniz was heading south on Superior Avenue in Costa Mesa, near the Superior Ave./Industrial Way intersection. Mr. Alaniz was driving a Honda 50cc Ruckus scooter. A 98-year-old woman in a 2003 red Jaguar turned left into the intersection at Industrial Way, in front of Mr. Alaniz’s scooter. Mr. Alaniz struck the woman’s Jaguar. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

This is such a sad scenario – two grown individuals, probably with many years of driving experience, in broad daylight, get into a fatal accident. That just goes to show you that it’s not always teenagers or inexperienced drivers, and it’s not always at night, and it doesn’t always involve alcohol.

However, this tragedy does raise some interesting questions:

  • Should a 98-year-old still be driving?
  • How old is too old to be driving in Orange County?
  • Is it more dangerous to drive a scooter or motorcycle than a car?

California Requirements for Elderly Drivers

While there is no upper age limit for driving in California, it is one of 28 states in the U.S. that have special requirements for older drivers renewing their licenses. While a younger person in California with a good driving record may be granted two five-year license renewals, anyone over 70 must physically go to a DMV office for a written test and eye exam. If a DMV employee suspects a person over 70 may have a diminished ability to drive, the DMV employee can ask the elderly person to take a driving test.

But just being old doesn’t mean a person is dangerous behind the wheel. In fact, teenage drivers are still the riskiest drivers in the country – even more risky than elderly drivers. People in their mid- to late-80s also have fewer crashes per year than drivers in their 20s. Nevertheless, any accident that results in a person’s death should be analyzed to see how it can be prevented from happening again to someone else.

The Safety (or Lack Thereof?) of Scooters

It’s generally accepted that motorcycles are safer than scooters. We won’t get into the motorcycle vs car debate here today – we’ll save that for a future post. Here are a few of the comparisons:

  • Scooters are lighter than motorcycles, making them more susceptible to being “thrown around” by a car that strikes them.
  • Scooter tires are smaller than motorcycle tires, making them more likely to be affected by potholes, cracks, and debris in the road.
  • Scooters have less power than motorcycles, making it more difficult to escape a dangerous situation quickly.
  • The weight of a scooter is not as balanced as a motorcycle, due to the closeness of the tires and the driver’s weight placement on the bike.

A 50cc scooter (which Mr. Alaniz was reported to be driving) is one of the smallest, least powerful scooters on the market. Being the big proponents of safety we are, we aren’t exactly fans of these types of rides. We will assume that Mr. Alaniz saw the woman’s car, as it was a red car in broad daylight. However, he may not have had enough time or space to swerve or brake so as not to strike the woman’s car.

From the reports, it sounds as though the woman turned in front of Mr. Alaniz, which would make her responsible for the accident. When turning left on a green light, drivers must yield to oncoming traffic.

Tips for Scooter Drivers in Orange County

If you want to drive a scooter, PLEASE consider purchasing a larger one. You’ll have more power, be more visible (and audible) and potentially be a bit safer on the roads.

Learn your local scooter driving laws.

Take the time to learn your scooter and practice maneuvering, braking and accelerating, cornering and curves, etc. before hitting the roads. Then ease yourself into trickier situations, such as driving in rain, traffic, fog, or at night. Learn emergency procedures such as avoiding a crash or obstacle, driving in bad weather or poor road conditions, and skidding.

No scooter with less than 250cc engine is suitable for freeway driving.

ALWAYS wear a helmet and other gear (tough, visible clothing, eye protection, proper footwear, gloves, etc.) to protect yourself in the event of a crash or fall.

NEVER assume that a driver sees or hears you. On the contrary, we recommend that you be extra vigilant and defensive in your driving.

Whether you’re a teenager, an adult, a senior citizen, a scooter driver, or the winner of the Indy 500, you’re at risk for an accident. Please practice safety and defensive driving and help us make Orange County a better place – one safe driver at a time! 

Step 1. Complete our online driver’s education course

Register for our online driver education course. After you complete the required chapters and tests, we will then send you the DMV Certificate of Completion (DL387) that you can take to the DMV when you are ready to take the written test for your learner’s permit.

Our online driver ed course is available to all California residents. You can take our course at your own pace, in your own home in your own time.

Step 2. Study for the DMV written test

You will need to study for the DMV written permit test by reading through the DMV California Driver Handbook. It will benefit you if you take your time and study the handbook so you are comfortable with the information that will be on the test.

Take your time, you don’t want to have to go back to retake the test.

Step 3. Make an appointment at the DMV to take the written exam

It is important that you call ahead of time and schedule an appointment at the local DMV so you can go in and take the written test.

The lines at the DMV are usually very long so you don’t want to waste your time waiting in line. Make sure that you are well prepared for your appointment.

Most DMV’s are open Mondays through Fridays until 5 pm; Some are also open on Saturdays for a few hours so call ahead of time and see which date and times are best for you.

Step 4. Bring necessary documents to the DMV office

  • Complete the application form DL 44, remember the DMV always requires An original to be submitted. Copies will not be accepted in any form, so make sure you have exactly what you need. You can get this form from your local DMV.
  • Have your parents or guardians sign the application form DL 44.
  • Give your right thumbprint.
  • Have your picture taken.
  • Provide your social security #
  • Verify your birth date and legal residence
  • Submit the proper form(s) for Driver Education and/or Driver Training (see below for details)
  • Pay the $28.00 application fee (This fee entitles you to three exams of any type within the 12-month period and pays for both the instruction permit and the driver license. If all requirements are not met within the 12-month period, the application becomes void and all steps must be completed again.)
  • Pass a vision exam, if you need glasses, wear them.
  • Pass a written test, there are 46 questions on the test.
  • You need a passing score of at least 39 correct answers.
  • You have three chances to pass the test. If you fail, you must wait 7 days before taking it again.


Driver Education and Driver Training Form Requirements:

If you are 15  years of age, you will need to bring with you:

  • Form DL 356 or OL 237 (Completion of Driver Education) with form DL 391 (Driver Training Enrollment ) if your school has a contract with a driving school.


  • Form DL 356 or forms OL 237 and OL 238 (Completion of both Driver Education and Driver Training)


  • Submit form DL 391 or OL 239 (Simultaneous Enrollment in Driver Education and Driver Training)


If you are over 15 but under 18 years of age, you will need to submit:

  • Form DL 356 or OL 237 (Completion of Driver Education)


  • Form DL 391 or OL 239 (Simultaneous Enrollment in Driver Education and Driver Training)


If you are over 17  but under 18 years of age, you may get your permit without the driver education and driver training certificates however, you will not be able to take the driving test until you turn 18.

Once you pass your written test, you will be issued a provisional permit. You can be issued a permit at age 15, but you cannot take the driving test or be issued a driver’s license until you are 16 years of age.

A parent, guardian, spouse, or adult 25 years of age or older, who has a valid California driver’s license, must be with you when you drive. They must sit in a position that allows them to take control of the vehicle, if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.

Before being eligible to take the driving test you must:

  • Be 16 years old
  • Have had your permit for a minimum of six months
  • Have completed driver education
  • Have completed 6 hours of professional driver training
  • Have completed 50 hours of practice with an adult 25 years or older. The adult must have a valid California driver’s license and certify to the 50 hours of practice. At least 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.


If driver education and driver training were taken in a state other than California, DMV will accept either a Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools form DL 33 completed by the out-of-state school or a letter on the out-of-state school’s stationery signed by a school official stating that the courses are equivalent to California’s requirements. Instructional permits issued by another state are not acceptable

Step 5. Complete behind the wheel training

When you pass the written exam:

  • You are required to take your first 2 hours of behind the wheel training with a professional driving instructor.
  •  You may start behind the wheel training with your parent/guardian or other licensed drivers who are 25 years of age or older.
  •  You must further complete four (4) more hours of driving school instruction.
  • Complete fifty (50) additional hours of behind the wheel training with a parent/guardian or any other adult who is 25 years old or older. The adult must have a valid California driver license and certify that you’ve had the 50 hours of practice. It is required that 10 of the 50 hours of training is done in the evening.

Step 6. Take the driving test at the DMV

To be eligible to take your driving test you must:

  • Be 16 years old
  • Have had your permit for a minimum of six months
  • Have completed a driver education course
  • Have completed 6 hours of professional driver training
  • Have completed 50 hours of practice with an adult who is 25 years or older. The adult must have a valid California driver license and certify to the 50 hours of practice. At least 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.
  • You will also need to show registration and proof of insurance for the vehicle you will be taking your drive test in.
  •  If you fail your drive test, you must wait two weeks before you can take the test again. You have three chances to pass.
    • Driving (behind-the-wheel) retest fee is $6.00.
    • Motorcycle driving (behind-the-wheel) retest fee $6.00.


After you pass your drive test you will be issued an interim license valid for 60 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double-check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect.

If you have not received your license after 60 days, call (916) 657-7790 and they can check on the status for you. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

Step 7. Receive provisional license upon passing the driving test

After you pass the Driving Test, you will be issued a provisional license. Your license will have the following restrictions for the next year: During the first 12 months, you are licensed to drive you must be accompanied by a driver 25 years of age or older if you drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. or if you have passengers under the age of 20 in the car at any time.

Persons under 18 may not be employed to drive a motor vehicle. When you become 18, the provisional part of your license ends. You may continue to drive as an adult using your photo license, which will expire on your 5th birthday after the date you applied.