Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Our association of 80 members has ongoing issues of speeding and underage drivers of ATVs. We've hit the usual dead ends of contacting the Warden Service, Sheriff, or State Police, although an SP did patrol the road once and spoke to several families which did the trick on summer.
We're considering hiring a private security firm to patrol twice on weekends and holidays. Their approach is to stop and 'educate' people on the applicable safety laws. they will document issues via pictures and videos, and if the problems persist, they will take their evidence to the appropriate authorities. They say they've had reasonable results.
Our understanding is that the cost cannot be covered by the Road Association although we intend to check with our lawyer to be sure. We are discussing this at the annual meeting as a way of getting the word out that this is under consideration. We will likely ask for donations to try the weekend patrol approach.
Has anyone else considered such an approach? Found a way of funding 'security enforcement.' Is road security part of maintaining the road? Any other thoughts or considerations?
Are the violators members of the association or visitors/trespassers?
If they are association members try incorporating as part of your fee formula as consequence some kind of violator fee that will be charged for excess road use/wear-and-tear/damage/increased liability/etc...seems fair to set specific guidelines and if sufficient documentation of the violations can be proven, charge them. Our association has been told by a lawyer that if any one specific individual/member causes excess damage (and it can be proven) they can be solely charged for the costs of that damage.
If it's determined the association cannot pay for security, perhaps try to establish a neighbor watch type of program--independent from the association--where volunteers contribute whatever they'd like to fund the operation. Granted you wouldn't be able to force everyone into it like the association, but maybe there's enough willing volunteers to make it work?
We have had similar problems. When an association member caused road damage through ATV use, he was billed for the damage, and that pretty much took care of that problem. As for use by outsiders, we found which property was being accessed and used by the ATV's. It was a wood lot, and the owner wasn't aware of what was going on. When we notified him, he willingly posted his property "no ATV's," and once word got around, use of the road by ATV's pretty much stopped. If that hadn't worked, the next step would have been to get a forest warden to post trail cameras to catch who was causing damage to forest land in production, which is a class E crime. But that's only an option if there is damage to forest land or farm land in production, under Title 17, section 3853-D. (It also applies to "public easements," but most road association roads are private.)
Another avenue, since you say at least part of the problem is underage drivers of ATV's, is to try to find the parents of the underage drivers and inform them of what is going on. (This may require following the tracks, or actually following the ATV's home.) If the parents find out their kids are going where they don't belong and causing damage which the parents may have to pay for, or that their kids are speeding, that may end the problem. If it helps, you can tell them that you know of at least one road association where a non-member on an ATV took a corner too fast, skidded on the loose gravel, and crashed into a rock off the side of the road. He was taken away by life flight. (We never did hear the outcome.) No one wants to see that happen again.
on the public maine pbs radio station the issue of ATV was discussed. A dept focuses on these vehicles and want private property owners to report to them any trespasses. the link is
Good to know - thanks for sharing the link!
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations