Senator Mike Gabbard Introduces Bill To Keep ATVs Off Our Beaches

HONOLULU -January 28, 2007- Senator Mike Gabbard has introduced SB 1891, which will allow the Department of Natural Resources' (DLNR) Enforcement Division to solve the problem of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other vehicles driving on our beaches and creating safety and environmental hazards. The legislation will restore criminal penalties to Chapter 171, relating to public lands.

The criminal provisions of the law were removed several years ago by the Legislature, making it increasingly difficult for DLNR to protect the safety of beachgoers, wildlife, and the environment.

Gabbard said, "After recent media reports, speaking with DLNR police officers, and getting complaints from the community, we've got to take action. Enough already! I've got nothing against ATVs, but it's time we give DLNR the tools they need to keep our beaches safe for families, especially our keiki."

"SB 1891 will solve this statewide problem," Gabbard continued, "by allowing DLNR to make the offense of illegally driving on public lands a 'petty misdemeanor'. This means DLNR police officers will have the ability to make arrests, issue criminal citations, and even seize vehicles. I guarantee that if a couple of these vehicles get confiscated, the problem will be solved very quickly."

Gabbard said, "This is not only a public safety problem, but it's also a serious cultural and environmental concern. If they haven't already, ATVs and other vehicles can potentially desecrate sacred burial grounds, as well as cause enormous destruction to our natural ecosystem."

Senator Gabbard intends to also introduce a resolution this session to ask DLNR to look at expanding the hours of the Kahuku Motocross Park and consider other locations around the state so that ATV riders have places to enjoy their sport.

If people want more details, please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830 or visit the State Legislature website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/Bills/SB1891_.htm