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Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Committee

October 2012

Dear Stakeholder Organization:s

 We are writing you today to ask for your help in spreading the word about an important issue that impacts children, families and the general public.  As you may know, in summer 2010, a new Massachusetts law was enacted that brought significant changes in the use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and recreation vehicles - including all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles.  The law establishes educational requirements for young riders, age restrictions for operators of some OHVs, increased penalties for violations, greater clarity on environmental protections, and an OHV program fund to support improved riding opportunities and law enforcement.   The Massachusetts Office of Law Enforcement is charged with implementing most elements of the law, focusing on education, enforcement and vehicle registration.   

We represent the Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Committee, a public body created by the new law and charged with advising the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the environmental agencies involved with off-highway vehicle issues, “…on matters involving the commonwealth's regulation of off-highway vehicles, as defined in section 20 of chapter 90B, including the development and enforcement of state regulations and policies, safety and training programs and the distribution of available state funding.”

Our intention in contacting you is straightforward – we are seeking to increase awareness among the rider community as well as the general public about the new law as well as about OHV safety issues in general.  We strongly believe it is just as critical for children and parents who ride OHVs regularly to be well-informed as it is for those who may have never encountered an off-highway vehicle.  Sadly, tragedy was an important catalyst for the new law – eight-year old Sean Kearney lost his life in a terrible accident involving an all-terrain vehicle.  We want to prevent future incidents and believe educating the public about this issue is vital.

We are reaching out to a broad set of organizations within the medical, safety, educational, environmental, youth, business, government, religious and sports equipment communities to ask for assistance.  Our request is simple – will you include a link on your website to the Massachusetts’ Office of Law Enforcement’s off-highway vehicle safety information?  This webpage – http://www.mass.gov/eea/grants-and-tech-assistance/enforcement/environmental-police/boat-and-recreation-vehicle-safety-bureau/ – includes an educational brochure as well as information about an off-highway vehicle educational course for youth, registration requirements, and other details of the new law. 

We hope you will join our effort to promote public awareness about off-highway vehicles.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the Office of Law Enforcement, Boat and Recreation Vehicle Safety Bureau at (508) 564-4961 or OHV.SafetyCourse@MassMail.State.MA.US.  In addition, we will be following up with your office in the coming days and encourage you to refer us to a staff member as appropriate.  Thank you in advance for your time.

Sincerely,

Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Committee

 


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