Jasper Officials Remind that ATV/UTV Use on Roadways Is Illegal


Published on April 24 2017 4:36 pm
Last Updated on April 24 2017 4:36 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Jasper County State's Attorney Chad Miller and Jasper County Sheriff Rick Britton have issued a joint statement reminding county residents of what vehicles are and aren't legal on roadways.

Miller and Britton's statement reads, "It is illegal in Illinois to operate an ATV, golf cart, UTV, or dirt bike on public roadways unless one of two exceptions applies to allow the operation on the roadway. According to state law, farmers have an exception 'on a county roadway or township roadway for the purpose of conducting farming operations to and from the home, farm, farm buildings, and any adjacent or nearby farm land'. The only other exception is if a government authorizes the operation by ordinance or resolution. Jasper County does not have an ordinance or resolution to allow the use."

The statement mentions that the City of Newton has utilized the state law to allow the use of golf carts and "neighborhood vehicles" on city streets in Newton. Also, in Indiana many rural areas similar to Jasper County utilize Indiana law to allow off-road vehicles on public roadways.

The statement continues, "Jasper County is now in the early stages of considering an ordinance that would allow ATV/UTV use on county roadways. Under Illinois law, an individual would have to have a valid license, insurance, and certain safety equipment on their vehicle. The rest of the who, what, when and where would be up to the Jasper County Board to decide. The ordinance would likely come with a curfew that would restrict the hours of operation. The ordinance could allow for inspection of vehicles parked at establishments around the county that sell alcohol to ensure compliance with permit requirements. Vehicles would be identified by reflected numbers and inspected by local law enforcement. The discussion of a local ordinance is in response to public interest, calls for increased enforcement, and is to break the misconception that Jasper County allows the illegal use of ATV/UTVs on roadways. Before the passage of an ordinance it must be determined whether non-highway vehicles may safely travel upon the county roadways. Individual townships could choose to adopt the county's proposed ordinance, but would not be forced to allow use on township roads."

The statement from Miller and Britton concludes, "Ultimately, it is up to the Jasper County Board in working with Jasper County Engineer Ben Bland, Jasper County Sheriff Rick Britton, Jasper County State's Attorney Chad Miller and local road commissioners to determine whether or not an ordinance is appropriate. Some valid concerns must be addressed as the investigation into an ordinance continues. In the meantime, it remains illegal to operate ATVs, golf carts, UTVs, or dirt bikes on public roadways in Jasper County (except for the conditions outlined earlier). Violators are subject to being ticketed for violations of Illinois law and could have their vehicle impounded and towed."