Brownstown inspecting UTVs for road usage

BROWNSTOWN

The Brownstown Police Department is set to begin inspecting utility task vehicles so people can drive them in town.

Anyone 18 or older interested in doing so must pay the $25 registration fee and fill out a form at the town hall, and then call the police department to set up an inspection, showing proof of a motor vehicle driver’s license, vehicle registration and liability insurance.

The vehicle must meet the standards of headlights, taillights and brakes; be equipped with a functional rear-view mirror; and have either an orange pennant or flag, a slow-moving vehicle emblem or a turn-signal kit.

Officers either can go to someone’s home if it’s in town to do the inspection, or the UTV can be brought into town on a trailer.

After the inspection, the owner will be issued a reflective decal to place on their UTV. The top part has a split panel with one half red and the other half black. Below that will be the year and a number issued to each UTV owner.

The town has 25 decals and will order more if there is enough demand.

The registration forms will be kept on file at the town hall. Inspections will continue on an annual basis.

The town council recently passed the third and final reading of an ordinance establishing traffic regulations for the registration and operation of off-road vehicles on streets and alleys in Brownstown.

The ordinance came about after local UTV enthusiasts approached Councilman Matt Smith about allowing them to drive their vehicles in town. Several of them attended meetings when the ordinance was being introduced.

In drafting the ordinance, town attorney Rodney Farrow said he implemented aspects of Salem and Crothersville’s ordinances along with state law.

UTVs will not be allowed on town streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

They cannot be on sidewalks, the walking trail in town, school property, unpaved surfaces of public property or private property without permission of the owner. They also cannot be on Bridge Street, Walnut Street or Base Road when school buses are present.

State law says UTVs cannot be driven on federal highways or state roads, which in Brownstown includes U.S. 50 and state roads 135 and 250. They can cross those roads only in a 90-degree path.

The town’s ordinance also states the town is not liable for accidents or damage. A UTV cannot be occupied by more people than for which it’s designed, and each occupant must have and use a separate seat and wear a seat belt.

Anyone violating the ordinance would be fined $50 for the first offense in a one-year period and $100 for the second offense. That money would go into the town’s general fund and be made available for appropriation to the police department’s operating budget. A second violation within a year also would result in the operator’s permit being revoked.

If a UTV driver operates unlicensed or without required equipment, the vehicle would be impounded until retrieved by the owner and a properly licensed operator. The vehicle would not be released until it’s properly registered and all towing and storage fees are paid.

UTVs not reclaimed within 30 days would be deemed abandoned and sold as surplus property.

At a glance

Anyone 18 or older interested in driving their utility task vehicle on Brownstown streets or alleys must pay a $25 registration fee and fill out a form at the town hall, 200 W. Walnut St.

A UTV inspection can be set up by calling the Brownstown Police Department at 812-358-2345.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.