Did You Know The Penalty For Driving Drunk On An ATV In Wisconsin Is Way Less Severe An Offense Than In An Automobile?
As of right now Wisconsin state law does not treat drunken driving with ATVs the same as it does with automobiles. The penalties are less severe, and the offense does not go on a person's driving record. The state also allows ATV riders to carry open alcoholic beverages while they are riding.
While this seems absolutely insane to me considering the power and speed you can get on an ATV this becomes even more concerning as some ATV riders are trying to get some towns to allow them to ride on city streets. For many people who are against this, they are afraid people will ride their ATV's to and from bars, because if they are caught it is less severe of a penalty. The state of Wisconsin does not regard an ATV as motor vehicles. The same goes for UTVs, boats, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles.
So what happens if you get pulled over and are under the influence in Wisconsin? According to an article in the LaCrosse Tribune:
Driving an automobile under the influence carries a first-offense penalty of up to $937; doing so on an ATV costs no more than $452. Police can issue a citation, but it is for operating an ATV while drunk, not criminal operating while under the influence. The standard is the same 0.8 blood-alcohol level used to measure operating a motor vehicle under the influence. But it is a violation of state recreation laws, not traffic laws. So operating an ATV while intoxicated does not count on a person's driving record.
In some cities this is allowed but one town in Wisconsin, Union Grove is putting it to a vote because as of right now you are not allowed to ride ATV's on city streets. There are 15 different bars in the town along with other places that serve alcohol. It is common knowledge that many people often drink while operating ATV;s which obviously is extremely dangerous even in the woods or on trails, now add to that driving up and down a city street along with pedestrians and traffic.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. More than 80 people in Wisconsin have died in ATV crashes involving alcohol in the past six years, a pretty sobering statistic. But changes might be coming soon as State Rep. Lisa Subeck, of Madison, is co-sponsoring a bill on the issue, that will push for allowing ATVs into regular street traffic which makes it all the more important to pass tougher drunken driving laws . Also it is important to note that many ATV riders also feel strongly that tougher drunken driving laws need to be enforced in the state of Wisconsin.