It's been a record year for four-wheeler deaths in West Virginia and now police in Kanawha County are trying to stop this deadly trend. 45 people have died so far from ATV related deaths this year surpassing last year's total of 44. The Sheriff's Department has a new plan to stop people from driving ATV's on public roads.
That plan is to go undercover putting sheriff's deputies in plain clothes and unmarked vehicles, trying to catch people breaking ATV laws. We rode along on the department's first undercover sting.
Within minutes of starting the undercover mission police found a person violating the law operating an ATV on a public road. Now his ATV is being towed and he's going to have to pay up in fines and towing costs.
This is the first time in the history of the State of West Virginia that a Law Enforcement Agency is going undercover to enforce traffic laws on ATVs.
This is a part of the county's new mission to catch people driving ATVs on public roads. The State Legislature banned ATVs on state roads, but you're allowed to operate them on secondary roads such as unlined roads.
But Kanawha County is the only county in the state that banned ATVs on all public roads.
Despite the laws on the books police departments around the county get complaint after complaint about people violating the law. They hope these undercover missions will convince ATV owners to drive their vehicles off road.
Aside from the undercover missions the sheriff's department will educate people in the county about the law by visiting schools in the area. They're finding a lot of times people just don't know that it is illegal to operate ATVs on all public roads in Kanawha County.
Manufacturers of these ATVs say these vehicles are not made to be used on paved roads.