Traveling on any public road in Clay County with an ATV is against the law.
"Unless riding on your own property, or you have permission to be on someone else's property, you need to stay off of public roads while using an ATV," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "While Greene, Sullivan and Parke counties authorize the use of ATVs on their county roads, Clay County does not have such an ordinance."
The number of complaints to the Clay County Sheriff's Department and the Brazil City Police Department about foolhardy ATV driving on public roads increase during the warm weather months.
"ATVs are a valuable tool for farmers in the area, and many responsible people enjoy riding them for recreation," Heaton said. "We're not out looking for these people. We're looking for those that are causing problems, acting reckless."
Complaints range from excessive noise to dangerous behavior and destruction of property. It is these types of calls that require immediate attention by law enforcement.
Officers handle each situation in a diplomatic manner, and often a verbal warning is all it takes to correct the problem. But there are times when tickets are written, vehicles need to be impounded and/or arrests are made.
"When you're not obeying the law, the cost of fines generated from charges can add up very quickly," Heaton said of the various fines and the $45 to $65 fee to tow away an ATV.
Indiana Off-Road Vehicle Laws
1. ATVs operated on public property must be registered with the state. The pocket-size certificate of registration must be carried with the vehicle at all times and registration decals must be maintained in a legible condition while displayed.
2. Individuals less than 14-years of age may not operate an ATV without adult supervision. Individuals without a valid driver's license may not operate an ATV on a public road.
3. ATVs should not be operated within 100 feet of a dwelling between midnight and 6 a.m., except on the individual's own property or as an invited guest on another person's property.
4. ATVs should not be operated on any property without the landowner's or tenant's consent, on or across a cemetery or burial ground, on a railroad track or right-of-way or within a flowing river, stream or creek, with the exception of crossing by the shortest possible route.
5. ATVs should have a muffler in good working condition.
6. While operating an ATV, the driver should not be under the influence of alcohol, a narcotic or any other drug.
7. Transport of a bow with an arrow nocked or a loaded firearm is forbidden.
8. The operator of an ATV involved in an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death to an individual or property damage in an estimated amount of at least $750 should immediately contact law enforcement or a conservation officer.