5/4/05 Draft VI
of ORV enforcement funds provided to the DNR, while the county sheriff patrol hours are similar to the 24% of ORV enforcement grant dollars provided to county sheriffs.
Safety Education The DNR shall implement a comprehensive ORV information, safety education, and training program that shall include the training of operators and the preparation and dissemination of information and safety advice to the public. The program shall provide for the training of youthful operators and for the issuance of ORV safety certificates to those who successfully complete the training under the program. The safety program instruction may include separate instruction for each type of ORV. The DNR shall cooperate with private organizations and associations, public and private corporations, other state departments and local units of government. The DNR shall also consult with ORV and environmental organizations and associations in regard to the subject matter of a training program and performance testing that leads to certification of ORV operators. It is only lawful for youthful operators (those under 16 and above 9) to operate some types of ORVs with both a safety certificate and the direct visual supervision of an adult. [MCL 324.81129 selected sections]
From 1991 to 2003, ORV safety education was under the purview of the Michigan Department of Education. They provided grants primarily to non-profit entities to conduct hands-on education and certification testing. Based on information provided to the DNR from the Michigan Department of Education, for years 1998 through 2003, 12,156 youth were certified, or 2,026 per year.
However, DNR Law Enforcement officials deemed that the training was taken by and available to too few youth. That relatively few youth who ride licensed ORVs had completed the training was substantiated by the most recent (1998-99) statewide ORV use and user study. That research concluded that about 1/3 of youth 12-15 who rode licensed ORVs had completed the safety certification course. For youth 10-11 who rode a licensed ORV, the proportion was 1/6 completing the course (Nelson et al. 2000). It is estimated that approximately 8,000 youth annually need to be certified to provide certification for all youth who ride licensed ORVs. This low level of certification and concerns about the availability of education led the DNR to not fully enforce certification requirements. Recently, Public Act 111 of 2003 transferred the authority for ORV safety education back to DNR. The DNR is currently seeking ways to increase the proportion of youth ORV riders completing ORV safety training (including certification) and is poised to fully enforce the safety certificate provision for youth.
Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities
The DNR recognizes, consistent with applicable state and federal laws, the needs of persons with disabilities to use ORVs. Currently persons that meet the following criteria are permitted to operate licensed ATVs/ORVs less than 50" wide on forest roads that are open to public vehicular travel on state lands (including those not posted open to ORVs):