East Hampton homeowners push to ban truck drivers on the beach

Push to ban Hamptons beach drivers

Tucked away on the east end of Long Island, the Hamptons' pristine beaches and brisk waves help cool off the summer heat. But tensions in one town are boiling hot over an age-old tradition of driving on the beach.

"There are just so many trucks, and it's dangerous. And it's very crowded and loud, and there's alcohol, and I just don't want to expose my children to that," homeowner Jennifer Ford said.

Ford and another homeowner Cindi Crain live within walking distance of Napeague Beach in East Hampton. A small stretch of it, less than a mile, allows trucks. They want to ban them altogether, reports CBS News' Meg Oliver.

"It feels like a parking lot. Doesn't feel like the beach," Ford said.

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CBS News

Home videos shows some close calls. In one, a truck narrowly misses a child. No one has been seriously hurt here, but for many, it's a big fear.

"I have a son who is on the autism spectrum and he has very limited impulse control, and so he's someone who wouldn't necessarily think ahead that there might be an accident," Ford said.

At Ormond Beach in Florida last month, a pick-up truck ran over a 4-year-old boy, causing serious injuries.

Trucks pack tightly together on beaches across the country, an off-road ritual from North Carolina and Georgia to Texas and beyond.

Laurie Posimota has been driving on Napeague Beach for decades. She said she's always felt safe having her kids on the beach with the trucks. Town trustee Bill Taylor has also spent decades patrolling the beach in East Hampton. He said it gives locals who don't live within walking distance a chance to enjoy it. Taylor said the homeowners who live along the beach don't just want a ban on trucks, they want to make it private.

"I think that if they could have this declared a private beach, it would make their real estate incredibly more valuable," Taylor said.

Crain said it's not about wanting to privatize the beach.

"Our issue is about safety. Children's lives are at stake," Crain said.

The legal fight over who owns the beach continues. In November a judge ruled in the town trustee's favor, but homeowners like Crain and Ford are not done. Their homeowners association is in the process of filing another appeal to ban the trucks.