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

With the number of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) injuries and fatalities on the rise, the Governor signed legislation (A-5511) into law on Tuesday to enhance penalties for illegally operating a snowmobile, ATV or dirt bike on public streets, highways, and rights-of-way.

Under this law, a first offense for illegal operation will result in vehicle impoundment for a minimum of 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 second and subsequent offenses, impoundment will be a minimum of 14 days and the fee at least $750.

It 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 third and subsequent offenses.

Sponsors of the measure, now law, 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 law, we are being 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 are doing more to prevent these incidents from happening in the first place and better protecting 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.”