Increased instances of violations of four-wheelers and other off-road vehicles on county roads has the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office both concerned and, now, increasing patrols for the violations.
According to Capt. Brandon Sellers, deputies have, in recent months, increased the number of citations written for both reckless driving and operating an unregistered vehicle on public roads. Sellers said the problem has gained intensity and deputies are now confiscating vehicles.
“You can’t run them on public roads unless they’re legal,” he said. Collectively, he said, four wheelers and motorcycles designed to be driven off-road are culprits. To be street legal, he said a vehicle has to have working brake lights, turn lights, must have insurance and registration (a license tag) and must be driven by a licensed driver. Helmets are also required.
He also said the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office had been getting flooded with noise complaints regarding the vehicles. “By their designs, these vehicles have loud motors,” he said. “They are not designed to be on the road.”
Sellers said most of the complaints regard either “juveniles or young adults” driving the vehicles illegally on public roads. “That’s where it really causes a safety problem.”
When a deputy stops a vehicle now that is not legally equipped to be on a public road, that vehicle is being impounded, Sellers said. “We are towing the vehicle. If you are an adult, you are issued a citation. If the driver is a juvenile, his parents are issued a citation.”
Sellers said the Sheriff’s Office would stress to the owners of the vehicles to “take them to a place where you have permission to use them and enjoy them.”
He said deputies monitoring the number of complaints had seen a rising trend. “We were hoping it was just a phase but it’s becoming an everyday thing,” he said.