On Wednesday, Jan. 11, a joint press conference was held with the Suffolk County Police Department and local politicians regarding stricter penalties for illegal ATV (all-terrain vehicle) use in …
On Wednesday, Jan. 11, a joint press conference was held with the Suffolk County Police Department and local politicians regarding stricter penalties for illegal ATV (all-terrain vehicle) use in Suffolk County.
Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone signed legislation sponsored by Legis. Jim Mazzarella that doubled fines for illegal ATV use and gave officers the ability to seize ATVs.
“In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the illegal use of all-terrain vehicles on our public highways and on certain properties,” Bellone said. “These vehicles, when they’re used improperly, illegally, can pose a significant safety risk.”
Bellone said that the county has seen an increase in ATV operators failing to stop or pull over when told by a police officer. On March 31, 2022, a special patrol directive pertaining to ATV enforcement was issued by the Suffolk County Police Department. Since then, the department received over 1,500 calls for illegal ATV use through the end of 2022. The new legislation signed by Bellone strengthens penalties for illegal ATV use; first-time offenders will now face a maximum fine of $1,000; second-time offenders face a $3,000 fine; and third-time offenders now face a maximum fine of $7,500. Additionally, if a driver flees a police officer, that officer can seize the ATV that is left behind. If an operator has their vehicle seized a second time, they’ll be subject to a $3,000 redemption fee.
Mazzarella said that in his bid for public office, one of the top issues affecting residents in his district was the illegal use of ATVs. Mazzarella serves the county’s Third District, which encompasses the south-central portion of the Town of Brookhaven. He noted that he began working on improving the issue over a year ago and discussed the illegal use of ATVs with the commissioner before he was even commissioner, during the interview process.
Suffolk County Police commissioner Rodney Harrison said that he did have some experience dealing with illegal ATVs during his time frame with the NYPD as a precinct commander in Harlem. He noted that SCPD’s strategy for dealing with the problem is outreach—telling residents how dangerous the illegal use of ATVs can be, and the civil and criminal liabilities that come along with using them. The department seized 44 ATVs in 2022.
“If you see someone using one of these recklessly or you see where they’re being stored, please call Crimestoppers’ hotlines at 1-800-220-TIPS and you could receive up to a $200 reward within 72 hours,” Harrison said.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here