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Spearman, Jones & Reynolds-Jackson Bill to Enhance Penalties for Illegal Operation of Off-Roading Vehicles on Public Roadways Clears Assembly

With the number of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) injuries and fatalities on the rise, the full Assembly voted 74-1-2 on Monday advancing legislation (A-5511) to enhance penalties for illegally operating a snowmobile, ATV or dirt bike on public streets, highways, and rights-of-way. It now goes to the Senate for further review.

Under the bill, a first offense would result in the vehicle being impounded for at least seven days, with subsequent opportunity for the owner to reclaim it upon showing proof of registration and insurance, and payment of a $500 fee. For a second and subsequent offense, impoundment would extend to a minimum of 14 days and the fee would increase to at least $750.

The measure also makes further penalty provisions requiring 30 days of community service for a first offense, 60 days for a second offense, and 90 days for a third and subsequent offense.

Bill sponsors issued the following statements:

Assemblyman William Spearman (D-Camden, Gloucester): “The majority of fatal ATV accidents occur on roads. In 2019 alone, there were eight ATV crashes in Camden County and several people were rushed to hospital in critical condition. Under this legislation, we would become more proactive in deterring unsafe operation of ATVs and other off-roading vehicles on public roadways.”

Assemblywoman Patricia Egan Jones (D-Camden, Gloucester): “Too many New Jersey families are being impacted by tragic ATV-related injuries and fatalities. By enhancing penalties we can do more to prevent these incidents from happening in the first place and better protect people from harm.”

Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon): “ATVs along with dirt bikes and snowmobiles are not designed for on-road use. Working harder to keep them off public roads is necessary if we hope to see fewer accidents and spur more responsible use amid rising popularity of these vehicles.”