Has issues with ordinance

To the editor:

Ordinance 052, before the county supervisors, would allow off road vehicles (ATVs) to travel on all county roads including paved roads such as P-59 (the Coalville Blacktop). Between Fifth Avenue South and Coalville in excess of 7,000 vehicles pass along that section of blacktop every day.

John Shaw, local roads safety liaison, Institute for Transportation, Iowa State University, wrote a Decision Maker Brief on All Terrain Vehicles on Secondary Roads. The following is a portion of his publication:

The operation of ATVs, including Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) on streets and highways has significant health, safety, enforcement, environmental, budgetary, and legal implications for Iowa communities.

ATVs are exempt from FMVSS, the national safety standards that apply to on-road vehicles. Most ATVs do not have basic safety features that have long been required on highway vehicles, such as horns, brake lights, reflectors, turn signals, mirrors, and windshields. ATVs also lack advanced safety features such as airbags, traction control, and anti-lock brakes.

ATV tires and suspensions, especially those supplied on sport models, are designed to operate in soft dirt. When used on firm surfaces such as paved or unpaved highways, grip is inconsistent and unpredictable. Loss of control can occur with little or no warning to the operator.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires all ATVs sold in the United States to include a NEVER USE ON PUBLIC ROADS warning label.

The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA), emphasizes that ATVs are not designed, manufactured, or in any way intended for use on public streets, roads or highways and urges that on-highway use of ATVs be prohibited and that law enforcement efforts be strengthened to eliminate this dangerous practice.”

Nationally, about two-thirds of fatal ATV collisions involve the ATV hitting or being hit by a highway vehicle-usually one that did not see the ATV.

The potential of property loss, injury, and death is great and even predictable if ATVs are allowed on roadways such as P-59. It is not a matter of if it happens, it is a matter of when it happens.

Our county supervisors need to make an informed decision in order to protect and ensure the welfare of our citizens.

If this ordinance passes, anyone negatively impacted by loss of property, injury, or loss of a loved one may well end up pursuing the county as liable. Ultimately someone should be held accountable.

Al Deal

Fort Dodge