Sheriff targets four-wheelers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Riding a four-wheeler on a county road won’t just get you in trouble with the law &045;&045; it could also get you killed.

According to Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr., the summer months see an increase in juveniles on golf carts, three- and four-wheelers and off-road motorcycles on public roadways and right-of-ways.

The sheriff noted that vehicles such as four-wheelers should only be driven on private property and only if the property owner consents. Even riding beside a road &045;&045; the right-of-way &045;&045; is illegal, he added.

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A vehicle must have headlights, tail lights, brake lights, a turn signal, horn and tag for it to be legally driven on public roads, Huffman said. The only exception to the rule is farm equipment.

A number of deaths have occurred over the past few years involving four-wheelers on public roads, and Huffman said he wanted to ensure that parents were aware of the consequences. &uot;You could lose your child,&uot; he said.

One recent complaint to Huffman’s office told of a four-wheeler cutting across a highway between a break in two cars. If the four-wheeler’s engine had sputtered at that moment, Huffman said, the driver could have been killed.

Deputies can confiscate offender’s vehicles, but haven’t yet taken that step, Huffman said. They have, though, spoken to juveniles found illegally driving golf carts and four-wheelers.

The next step would be to talk to both the offender and his or her parents together.

Ticketing is another option open to deputies. In the case of juveniles illegally driving a four-wheeler, it would be the parents ticketed, Huffman said.

He said he didn’t want to ticket parents, but he may be forced to if the offenses continue.