(02/17/2002)
The House Judiciary Committee rejected the subcommittee report on the ATV Safety Bill. The ATV safety bill can still reappear in committee but not with the backing of the subcommittee report.

House Judiciary Vice Chairman Dale Manuel says some of the committee members were missing, and says if everyone was present, there might have been a chance to accept the report.

The proposed legislation would have required operators to wear a helmet if riding on a paved road and would have required juvenile riders to wear helmets at all times. The bill would have forbidden the popular four-wheelers on the interstate or U.S. highways. The provision would also forbid operation under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Unlike earlier versions, the subcommittee's report removed a written permission requirement to use ATVs on private land. Instead, the requirement was substituted with expressed permission, meaning word of mouth. The legislation from the subcommittee also removed a provision that would have disallowed passengers on ATVs.

Lawmakers have been reluctant in recent years to take any action that would regulate four-wheelers. Their widespread popularity in the hills and hollows of the state make them a hot-button item among elected leaders. The ATVs also sport a powerful lobby organization.


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