On Thursday, April 4 the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on a bill to increase the fines for OHRV (off-highway recreational vehicles) and snowmobile violations.
The bill, HB 630, increases fines as follows:
- Speeding: increase from $70 to $124 if up to 24 mph over the limit, $248 if 25 mph or more over the limit
- Violating equipment laws, for example regarding exhaust systems: increase from $120 to $248
- Operating an unregistered OHRV or snowmobile: increase from $120 to $248
- Operating on private property without permission: increase from $70 to $248
Arguments for higher fines
Supporters of HB 630 argue the current fines are too low to deter lawbreaking. They note that it does not cost that much more to pay a fine than it does to register an OHRV or snowmobile, so operators don’t see much risk in skipping registration or violating other laws.
Some offenders even request selfies with the ticketing officers, as if the fines are a joke.
When OHRV and snowmobile operators break the law, particularly trespassing, it can lead to property owners closing trails, which hurts all outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
Arguments against higher fines
Opponents argue higher fines are just a cash grab by the state.
They note that the fines do not compensate private property owners for any damage from trespassing.
Rep. John Burt wrote, “The state should not profit from private property damage done by an OHRV or snowmobile.”