(12/11/2006)
After a year of record deaths on ATVs in the Mountain State, some members of the West Virginia Legislature seem more intent in getting the recreational vehicles licensed for on-the-road use than putting them off the state's black-tops or creating a new set of safety standards.

The off-the-road vehicles have lawfully been allowed on most of the state's paved highways despite manufacturers warnings they are unstable on such highways.

The Legislature is looking at getting the vehicles on the property tax rolls.

The safety aspects of riding ATVs, according to one bill, would shift the safety responsibility to individual counties.

If such a bill passed, the riding laws could differ in all 55 counties.

The WV State Police say the vehicles should not be allowed on paved highways, and were never intended to be.

Legislators have given ATV owners wide permission for their usage, allowing them to drive on the highways with cars and trucks, lacking safety features, with a disclaimer by their makers they are unsafe and unstable on paved roads.

Fifty-two people have been killed in ATV crashes, 12 more than in 2005, which was the previous high number.


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