Kohring wants to repeal snowmachine license law

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Rep. Vic Kohring, R-Wasilla, wants to repeal a state law requiring people to get a license to drive a snowmachine.

State officials said recently they had just discovered the law, which has been on the books since 1978.

Kohring introduced legislation Friday to repeal it.

''I just don't think it's necessary to have somebody have to pass a test that is basically geared to driving regular motorized vehicles, basically cars and trucks,'' Kohring said.

Kohring said the requirement could be a particular burden in the Bush, where snowmachines are a major mode of transportation in the winter.

Spokesmen at the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation have said they only recently became aware that state law requires operators of snowmobiles and all terrain vehicles to possess a driver's license, unless the machines are driven on private property.

Alaska State Troopers say the law is ''not a high enforcement priority,'' especially in the Bush where few people have licenses and snowmobiles and ATVs are the chief mode of overland travel.

The minimum age for a driver's license in Alaska is 16. A person can get a learner's permit at 14, but the permit requires supervision by a licensed driver.

House Bill 397 was referred to the Transportation Committee, where Kohring is chairman, and the State Affairs Committee.

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