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BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Bethel police are stepping up enforcement of laws concerning all-terrain vehicles in an effort to make area roads safer and reduce dust in the air.

Police are planning for their enforcement efforts to be more visible, so residents will be reminded of the road rules for ATVs, KYUK-AM reported Wednesday.

An ATV driver must be licensed and insured. Minors can drive only when their parents are within 100 feet (30 meters) of them.

ATVs can be driven on city roads but cannot exceed 15 mph (24 kph).

The vehicles cannot be driven on highways, Bethel Police Chief Burke Waldron said. The vehicles cannot be within 3 feet (1 meter) of the highway shoulder unless they are crossing the highway, he said.

Young children riding in ATVs must be strapped into car seats, Waldron said.

“I see a surprising number of automobiles and cars in this town with infants and toddlers standing on the seats of the vehicles and sitting on parents’ laps,” Waldron said.

While 15 mph may seem like a slow speed, a wreck can still be deadly for infants and toddlers, Waldron said.

“Collisions as low as 15 miles an hour can be fatal to an infant and toddler, so as well as the ATV traffic, I’m here to make people aware of the seriousness of child seats, educate them on some of the requirements for child seats, and also let them know we’re going to be paying attention,” Waldron said.


Information from: KYUK-AM,