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Hartselle Enquirer

Laws effect recreational vehicles, too

By Staff
Hartselle Police Chief Ron Puckett, Guest Columnist
The Hartselle Police Department has received numerous inquiries concerning recreational vehicles on the roadways in the city of Hartselle. These vehicles are not only dangerous, but illegal to operate on the public roadways.
These vehicles, whether powered by battery or gas, are considered motor vehicles in Alabama. Motor vehicles are defined in Title 32 of the Code of Alabama as "every vehicle that is designed and manufactured to be operated on the street and highways of Alabama."
And "every vehicle which is self-propelled and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails, except for electric personal assistive mobility devices."
Motor vehicles must have registration, have proof of insurance and must follow applicable laws. Motorized vehicles have to have the following minimum items to be legally operated on roadways: tires, brakes, horn, rear view mirror, windshield, muffler, seat belts, safety glass, headlights, tail lamps, turn signals and license tags.
These vehicles do not meet the requirements to be operated on public roadways. Moreover, they are not certified to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards or minimum federal equipment standards required for all new vehicles which are manufactured for use on the roadways. The lack of safety equipment, coupled with the fact many of these vehicles are so small they cannot be seen by other drivers, make them dangerous to operate on public roadways.
Parents need to understand that those vehicles are illegal to operate by anyone on public roadways. If a parent of any child knowingly permits a child to violate any of the provisions of Title 32-12-20 they could be held personally responsible. Only motor vehicles that meet state statutes and are properly licensed are allowed to operate on roadways.
Those who operate illegal vehicles could have their vehicle towed, impounded and receive a citation from police officers. Officers will not allow an illegal motor vehicle to operate on the roadways. Fines could be very costly for operating these vehicles. For example, fines for improper driving on highways is $140; no rearview mirror is $130; no driver's license is $185; and no tag is $140.
Our major concern is public safety. We encourage the public not to operate these vehicles on the roadways. With summertime coming, more children will be out playing and riding vehicles like these. The police department wants to notify the public of the laws concerning these vehicles.