Shooting Leads to Law Changes in New Jersey
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A shooting death by police in New Jersey last week sparked a renewed effort to crack down on off-road vehicles throughout the state. Details in the case remain unclear but one man was killed and several New Jersey officers were injured. The police had been called after complaints of illegal off-roading were phoned in by concerned citizens. The renewed controversy is over New Jersey’s lax ATV laws and many are calling for new legislation in order to curb illegal off-road activity.
New Jersey State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, has stated that he is planning on introducing a bill regarding ATV licensing and how the off-road vehicles are sold and operated in the state. The new bill would result in greater fines for off-roading on public land, give park rangers more power and would require all buyers of ATVs to register and have proof of insurance. Current New Jersey law does not require proof of insurance before buying ATVs including off-road motorcycles, quads, snowmobiles and other motorized off-road vehicles.
Off-road activity has been increasing in New Jersey, a state with only one publicly owned off-roading area and even that is slated for closure in 2008. As it stands, New Jersey allows off-road activity on private property with the owner’s permission and doesn’t allow it almost anywhere else. Many recent off-roading incidents involved illegal activity such as riding an unauthorized vehicle on public property or city streets and not having adequate insurance policies.
Critics say that the situation is getting out of control and ATV riders are becoming more irresponsible in their decisions. Injuries, deaths, and other accidents have taken their toll and because many individuals involved do not have proper insurance they face exorbitant medical and property damage bills. Environmentalists are concerned with the growing number of enthusiasts who are riding in public parks and nature sanctuaries as well.
Officials in New Jersey are looking for a new site for off-road activity but they face several hurdles including those from concerned neighbors and environmentalists. Some officials in New Jersey communities have stated that they would consider off-roading activity on their land if the new strict laws were passed and enforced. Until these laws are passed, however, many see the problem of ATV-related accidents, injuries and deaths to get out of control.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident or incident involving an ATV, contact our New Jersey injury lawyers at (609) 240-0040 for a free evaluation. Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., located in Princeton, provides free consultations to any first time caller. We have years of experience dealing with New Jersey vehicle law and look forward to hearing from any potential client.
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