Phelps County commissioners are taking a closer look at requiring permits for all ATVs and UTVs driven on county roads.

Phelps County commissioners are taking a closer look at requiring permits for all ATVs and UTVs driven on county roads.


After hearing a request from two residents advocating the county initiate permits for all-terrain and utility-task vehicles, the Phelps County Commission on Tuesday agreed to research the issue and make a decision on the initiative within two weeks.


In their request for the county to begin issuing ATV and UTV permits, residents Jerri and Judy Jepsen cited the ambiguity associated with the legality of operating the vehicles on county roads.


Jerri Jepsen said she had been stopped by deputies at various times and was given conflicting information.


“We have a camp site on the edge of Phelps and Pulaski counties,” Jerri Jepsen said. “Pulaski County requires an ATV permit to ride on their county roads and numbered Forest-Service roads. These permits cost $20 every two years.


“We abide by the law and have these,” Jerri Jepsen said. “However, a portion of the roads we ride on to get to Pulaski County is in Phelps. We were told that although orange triangles and flags are required, it does not make the ATV legal, even for farmers.


“We request Phelps County implement a permit system, allowing recreational vehicles to be operated on county roads without fear of a ticket or penalty. I think all responsible ATV owners would approve of this.”


Judy Jepsen agreed and said, “It shouldn’t be so ambivalent, just to leave it up to the whim of a deputy whether to issue a ticket. All counties should have the same requirement.”


Jerri Jepsen cited two-year permit fees in Pulaski County of $20 per vehicle that brought in revenues of $3,220 in 2009 and $15 one-year permits from 2008 through the present date that Texas County earned.


The discussion among the commissioners included a point made by Commissioner Larry Stratman, who said he would not be opposed to the measure if the ordinance included a requirement of liability insurance for the vehicle and that persons under the age of 16 be under direct adult supervision on public thoroughfares.


Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp suggested the commission solicit information from other counties that have adopted an ATV and UTV permit requirement. Verkamp told the Jepsens to give the commission two weeks to research the issue before rendering a decision on the matter.