ATVs running wild around New England

The citizens of New England have been aware of the problem for quite sometime.


Posted April 18, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Editor |


The citizens of New England have been aware of the problem for quite sometime. However, with law enforcement stretched thin sometimes, all terrain vehicles (ATVs) have been roaming the town disregarding standard traffic laws.

“They were actually not allowed to drive in town, except they would let them get by with it to come fill up at the gas station and stuff, to take back out in the country.  But if they’re street legal they can drive them in town now,” said Butch Frank, New England City Councilman.

The biggest concern, according to Frank, is drivers not obeying the traffic laws. There have been occasions of missed stopped signs, and excess speed that has been most concerning with the situation.

Police will stop offenders, but they need to be caught in the act and with the Hettinger County Sheriff only contracted a limited number of hours, around the clock patrol is just not feasible.

“We don’t have 24 hour patrol, so they can only do it while they’re in town,” Frank said, in regards to law enforcement.

There haven’t been very many citizens of New England voicing their concerns at city council meetings, though the issue comes up quite often at the meetings, according to Frank. But there have been individual members that have received complaints outside of meetings.

Right now, ATVs are
allowed to be driven in town, as long as they are street legal. There are various requirements on the unit to make it street legal, including turn signals, brake lights and at least one headlight. The vehicle must abide by the laws of the state too. This means that it must be registered with the state, and carry the proper insurance.

According to Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner, you must be a licensed driver, or have successfully passed a special class allowing an individual with a permit to operate the ATV.

Warner also wants operators to understand that they need to adhere to the standard traffic rules.

“They need to treat every traffic signal, everything the same as if they are driving a vehicle,” Warner said.

Operators also need to find an appropriate method of leaving the street if they are going to take their vehicles off the road, according to Warner.

Although law enforcement can not cite anyone with out witnessing the offense, if citizens make them aware of any offenses, they will look into it. The time and location of the witnessed offense would be needed as well.


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