- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

WAPELLO, Iowa (AP) - Researchers are opposing a petition to allow all-terrain vehicles on Louisa County’s secondary roads, citing public safety.

The proposal for roadway use was presented to the Louisa County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 24. Petition organizer Tim Gerst said that many communities in the county already allow the vehicles inside their city limits, but that created islands since drivers could not legally use them on county roads to into the towns.

The Muscatine Journal (http://bit.ly/1Nsel1Y ) reports that Dr. Charles Jennissen, a physician and professor with the University of Iowa, spoke against the petition at a Louisa County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Jennissen said ATVs are not designed for on-road use and that about 35 percent of injuries in accidents involving ATVs in Iowa happened on roadways. He also said that there could be more fatal accidents because of additional use of the roadways.

“We’re seeing a disturbing trend where more cities and counties are allowing more use,” Jennissen told the board.

According to Jennissen, ATVs’ high center of gravity, size, speed, tires contribute to roadway safety concerns.

Gerene Denning, a research director at the university and a member of the Iowa Injury Prevention Task Force, noted that manufacturers warn against taking the vehicles on the road.

County supervisors, including Board Chair Randy Griffin, indicated that more research needed to be conducted and that they would need to learn about the experiences in other counties involving ATVs and side by side utility vehicles.

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Information from: Muscatine Journal, http://www.muscatinejournal.com

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