County ponders law for ATVs

Conributed photo
An unlicensed utility vehicle where it shouldn’t be.

   A Houston attorney with a house in Sargent asked Matagorda County Commissioners Court Monday if he could draft a proposed ordinance for utility vehicles in the county. 
   “I want to talk about ATVs,” Tom Pirtle told the court during its public comments section. 
   “We’re seeing more and more activity. There is some concern about the age of the operators,” Pirtle said. 
   “I’d like to ask to take a crack at an ordinance” addressing the use of those vehicles, he said. 
   While the court can’t directly respond to remarks made at the public comments portion of the meeting, it was clear there were no objections to Pirtle’s proposal. 
   Commissioner Kent Pollard, whose Precinct 2 includes both Matagorda and Sargent, later noted that the county’s ordinances applying to utility vehicles were dated, written in 1985. 
   At the heart of Pirtle’s concerns about utility vehicles – shared by Deputy Constable Bill Orton and others - is the age of the drivers. 
   Those vehicles include ATVs, UTVs, side x sides, golf carts – which are a common sight on Sargent streets, particularly on the weekends when people from other places like Houston flood into Sargent. 
   The problem surfaces when families “let the kids go in very powerful machines with very little supervision,” Pirtle said. 
   Orton said he has warned several youngsters about driving the vehicles in Sargent. 
   “In some ways, it’s like the Wild West,” Orton remarked, adding that when youth are stopped in the vehicles they’re often surprised.  

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