ADOT: ATV use on highway shoulders illegal, unsafe

Improper off-road vehicle use can trigger crashes, roadside damage

Photo of damage from all-terrain vehicles along SR 188

PHOENIX – While all-terrain vehicles are a popular way to explore off-road areas, the Arizona Department of Transportation reminds ATV riders it is illegal and unsafe to drive these vehicles along state roadways.

The shoulders of state highways are only to be used only for emergencies, not for joyrides.

ATV users create many hazards when they drive on shoulders. At a minimum, they are a distraction to passenger and commercial traffic on the highway. At driveways and on sharp curves, they can surprise other drivers and lead to near-misses or crashes. And on unpaved shoulders, ATV riders can kick up dust that blinds drivers who are traveling at highway speeds.

ATV use also damages the areas along highways. The vehicles destroy vegetation and erode unpaved areas, which can cause steep drop-offs at the edge of pavement and at driveways. When enough damage occurs, ADOT maintenance crews are needlessly diverted from other important functions as they work to repair damage from off-road vehicles.

The problem applies no matter where ATV riders are improperly using highway shoulders, but the issue is more pronounced in certain areas. This includes State Route 188 in the Tonto Basin, where curves and elevation changes only make the problem more pronounced. Also northwest of Wickenburg, heavy ATV use is an issue along SR 89 between US 93 and SR 71.

ADOT reminds off-road vehicle operators they can be cited for illegal use of highway shoulders, including for damage to state or private land.