With ice-slickened city streets emboldening more Benton residents to drive all-terrain vehicles and golf carts around town, its police department says it is enacting a zero-tolerance policy toward using the vehicles on roads.
Benton Police Department spokesman Lt. Kevin Russell told Arkansas Online that officers have received six complaints within the past three days about youths operating ATVs in unsafe ways, such as completing "stunts," on highways.
"Recently, we've had reports of cars almost hitting ATVs because they don't have the same lighting requirements as cars," Russell said.
ATVs, which do not carry the same licensing and insurance requirements as other vehicles, are an "inherent danger" to other drivers, Russell said. "They are posing a danger to themselves and others if they cause an accident."
The Benton Police Department said it will issue citations and potentially impound vehicles if officers find drivers in violation of state laws regarding ATVs.
Children under 12 must have adult supervision or operate the vehicles on private property, and the vehicles aren't allowed to travel on city streets or highways unless they are crossing to get to another field for hunting or farming, according to state law.
"Our primary concern is not to write citations," Russell said. "It's just to not have people do it."