Running guns or drugs ... via ATV?

Legislation advanced by a New Jersey Assembly panel would amend state law and allow law enforcement to seize all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes used in crimes involving drug transactions, prostitution and weapons transport.

Under current law, officials are permitted to impound motor vehicles, such as cars and trucks, for certain crimes. This measure, sponsored by Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro (D-Salem), would ensure ATVs and dirt bikes are considered motor vehicles. Taliaferro said his legislation would "close a little loophole in the law."

"ATVs are particularly dangerous when used improperly," Taliaferro said in a news release. "They can easily evade police cars through backyards and alleyways where officers cannot pursue. The ability to impound these vehicles as done with other vehicles used in the commission of a crime is an additional tool that will help keep our communities safe."

The measure was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. During the hearing, Taliaferro said expansion of the legislation was considered, to include incidents in which riders take their vehicles into sensitive areas and destroy the environment.

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth) said she'd like the legislation to include the improper use of these vehicles on any public property.

"In Holmdel ... they just drive wherever they want on school property and they tear up the lawns," DiMaso said. "It's a public nuisance with some of these children, and unfortunately the parents don't stop them."

ATV use is illegal on state property, and riders looking to let loose can only do so on privately-owned land. That could mean a homeowner's property or one of the motocross and trails parks in Englishtown or Millville.

ATVs and dirt bikes in New Jersey must be registered and insured. Operators must be at least 14 years old.

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