Perth County OPP urge Off-Road Vehicle drivers to exercise caution

(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

A release from Perth County OPP reminds drivers of Off-Road Vehicles to follow the laws and exercise caution. In the past five years, Perth County OPP officers have investigated 15 ORV collisions, in which two people died. In 2019, there were 21 Off-Road Vehicle deaths investigated by the OPP, compared to 19 in 2018.

OPP investigations into ORV collisions continue to show that losing control, alcohol consumption, lack of experience, and overall carelessness are major contributing factors in severe injuries and deaths.

The release says owners and operators of these machines are responsible for knowing, understanding, and following the applicable laws. Driving an ORV while impaired by alcohol or drugs is as unlawful and dangerous as driving any other vehicle and carries the same impaired driving penalties that apply to drive a motor vehicle.

As of 2015, certain ORVs, including All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), two-up ATVs, side-by-side ATVs, and utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs) are permitted for use on the shoulder of public roads, only if the host Municipality has enacted a bylaw enabling access. Currently, ORVs are allowed on roads in the Township of Perth East and the Municipality of West Perth.

The law also requires all riders – including drivers and passengers of all ages – to wear an approved motorcycle helmet and use a seatbelt or footrests, where applicable.

Drivers operating a permitted ORV along a road or highway must hold at least a G2 or M2 driver’s licence, and their vehicle must be registered and insured.

When considering allowing children to operate an ORV on private property, parents and guardians need to remember that the size and horsepower of some of these units are increasing. They are not always afforded the level of respect they require, and are often used in recreational settings. Stability, handling, speeds, and limited safety equipment all need to be considered.