Each state has a set of rules and regulations in place to keep ATV drivers safe. If you have an ATV and live in or are visiting Utah, you need to know about the laws regarding ATVs in place.

Utah requires vehicle registration and a title to ride ATVs on public land or roads, although additional requirements are necessary to become street legal. Operants must be able to safely reach and operate all controls and have an Education Certificate from the Utah OHV course.

Keep reading to learn more about the Utah state laws about ATVs.

ATV Registration

When you are taking care of legal matters with your ATV, you will have to get familiar with some new terminology. ATVs or quads fall under the “Off-Highway Vehicles” or OHVs category. Other types of vehicles are also OHVs, but ATVs are probably the most common type.

Your ATV will likely be classified as an All-Terrain Type I Vehicle for the purposes of laws and registration. This category includes vehicles that weigh less than 1,500 pounds, measure less than 52 inches across, have 3 or more wheels, and can travel over rough terrain. This encompasses most sport and utility ATVs. You can determine your ATV’s size and weight specifications by finding the model on the manufacturer’s website.

If you have a side-by-side ATV, it will likely be categorized as an All-Terrain Type II Vehicle instead. These vehicles have non-straddling seats (as opposed to type I), have a roll cage, and are up to 80 inches across. They can also weigh up to 3,500 pounds.

Either way, you will need to have your OHV registered and display the registration sticker in an easy-to-see location on the vehicle. Utah state law requires that registration be plainly visible on the back side of your vehicle and kept in legible condition. This means you need to keep it clean from dirt and replace it if the sticker is ever damaged.

In addition to the sticker for your ATV, you will also be given a registration card. Keep this card with you or in a safe location on the ATV whenever you are using it. Utah law enforcement officers can check your registration card to ensure everything is in order.

You will need to renew your registration every year, just like a car. Technically, this is only necessary if you are driving on public lands or roads. If you exclusively use your ATV on your own private property, you do not need to get it registered with the state. However, it can be nice to get it registered, as doing so allows you to use your ATV in more places.

When you register your ATV, you will also get what looks like a license plate. The off-highway vehicle plate will be tan in color. They are not for street-legal ATVs, however.

Utah residents must get their ATV registered and titled. Non-residents are not held to this requirement.

According to the 2023 OHV laws, registering an off-highway vehicle will not cost more than $35. However, if you are registering your all-terrain vehicle as street-legal, the maximum fee is $72. Additional registration fees may vary based on the age of the vehicle.

ATV registration requirements are fairly simple. You will need to pay the registration fee, pay the uniform fee, and have a current title (as long as the vehicle was made after 1988). You can take care of this at the local DMV. If you are registering a street-legal ATV, it will need to undergo a safety inspection the first time it is registered. You will need to bring the certificate of inspection with you to the DMV.

To get a title for your ATV, you need to fill out an application with thorough information about the size, age, and type of vehicle you have. You will also need to provide some legal information about yourself or whoever’s name you want to be associated with the ATV.

When you are at the DMV, the person named on the title will have to be present. The first time the vehicle is titled, you will need a VIN inspection unless you purchased the ATV new from a Utah dealership. Call your local DMV with any questions about what requirements apply to you.

Equipment Guidelines

Off-highway vehicles, including ATVs, need to have certain equipment to be legally driven in Utah. The only common exception to these guidelines are ATVs used exclusively for agricultural work and are only operated on the agricultural property belonging to the ATV owner (never on roads).

The OHV law book can give you more detailed descriptions, but in general, OHVs must have:

  • Brakes to control movement.
  • Headlights and taillights on when dark.
  • A muffler with a spark arrestor.
  • A safety flag.
  • A helmet for the operator and passenger(s).

The safety flag is only required when you are driving in sand dunes. The requirements for the sad dune flag are quite specific. It has to be either red or orange and has to be at least 6 by 12 inches big. You can attach the flag to the ATV or your helmet, but either way, it has to be tall enough. If it is attached to your ATV, the flag needs to be at least 8 feet higher than the ground. If you attach the flag to your helmet, it needs to be at least 18 inches above the top of your head.

The most important piece of equipment for the driver is a helmet. However, the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation strongly encourages ATV operators to also protect themselves with gloves, tall boots, and thick clothing.

There are some legal requirements for helmets. Some states require that all drivers and passengers wear a helmet, but Utah only requires helmets to be worn by those under 18 years old. It doesn’t matter if their parents give permission, they still need to wear a helmet in compliance with Utah State Law. The only exception is for farming vehicles.

Just like any state requiring helmets, the helmet needs to be certified by the United States Department of Transportation. You can usually verify this by finding a DOT sticker on the back of the helmet. The helmet also needs to fit well, be properly fastened, and be designed for motorized vehicle use.

Becoming Street-Legal

A street-legal ATV costs more to register than a non-street-legal ATV and has a few more safety requirements. This is in exchange for being able to drive the ATV on many roads and streets (although not all).

The OHV Street-Legal Code has a description of the vehicle equipment necessary for an ATV to be street-legal. Here is a rundown of what street-legal ATVs must have:

  • Headlamps, tail lamps, and turn signals.
  • A horn or warning device.
  • Brakes that follow legal requirements (more than just a parking brake).
  • A muffler and emission control (you can get an emissions test at an auto shop).
  • Rearview mirrors.
  • A windshield or eye protection (provided by a good helmet).
  • A speedometer.
  • Tires that do not exceed the maximum size for that vehicle.

Essentially, the only thing standing between your ATV and street-legal status is the appropriate inspections. Most ATVs already have all the necessary equipment to be street-legal or can be easily altered to include these features.

Street-legal status can be nice even if you are mostly riding on trails. It means you can drive your ATV directly to the trailhead rather than loading it into your truck.

Where Can You Ride an ATV?

This is pretty universal to all states, but you can not drive an ATV on the interstate, freeway, or highway. This is partially why ATVs are classified as off-highway vehicles. This includes driving along the side of the interstate as well. Anything within the boundaries of the freeway or highway is off-limits.

There are very rare exceptions to this rule, and the exception only applies to highways. You can drive across the highway when it intersects with an OHV-legal road and your ATV is street-legal. You must stop completely and yield to traffic before crossing the highway. You will not be penalized for unloading an OHV from your vehicle on the side of the highway in a safe location for the purpose of driving it off the highway. Emergencies are the only other exceptions.

Street-legal ATVs can be driven on any street or road that is designated as open to off-highway vehicle use. Signs along the road typically say whether doing so is allowed or prohibited.

A registered ATV can be operated on public land and public trails except for any trails that have been marked to restrict OHV use. It is best to stick to trails and roads that are clearly marked as OHV-allowed. You can also use the Utah recreation website to determine which trails will be best for you.

Operator Requirements

Most states have a minimum age for driving an ATV. Utah’s minimum age used to be 8 years old, but recently changed. Now, there is technically no minimum age. However, there are still requirements for who can operate an OHV. The minimum requirements are now based on ability rather than age.

Anyone can operate an ATV if they are able to reach and use all of the controls needed to drive the ATV safely. This includes the handlebars, brake, clutch, and gas. ATV operators need to either be an adult or have direct adult supervision.

In the past, Utah has required that ATV drivers have either a current driver’s license or an education certification from their OHV course. However, this is no longer the case.

Starting in 2023, all ATV operators of any age need to take and pass the education course, even if they have a valid driver’s license. Even if you have been driving your ATV for years, you will now need to get an OHV Education Certification.

Utah has two different education courses: one for adults and one for minors. The youth course and the adult course teach you all about Utah laws and safety guidelines.

Luckily, the adult course can be taken quickly online. It is designed to only take about half an hour to complete and is comprised of a series of video clips. The video clips are accompanied by 26 questions designed to test your knowledge of the information in the videos. The adult course is free and only needs to be taken once.

The youth courses are a little bit more involved but are still very simple to complete. The course can be completed online or in person and costs about $34.95.

The education certifications act like a driver’s license and can be checked by law enforcement to ensure everyone is complying with the laws regarding ATVs.

Non-Resident Visitors

There are different guidelines for those visiting Utah with their ATV. For registration, you only need to worry about registering your ATV in your home state. Even if you mostly ride your ATV in Utah, you must register the vehicle with the state you live in because you will need to provide proof of residency.

Instead of registering your ATV, you will need to get a temporary pass. Non-residents who plan to drive their ATVs in Utah need to apply for a permit. You can do this quickly and easily online. The permit must be purchased online, as there is no option for purchasing one in person.

You will need to create a Utah DNR account and pay $30 to get the permit. The permit will last 12 months from the date of purchase. The process and price are pretty similar to an in-state registration. However, it is designed for non-residents.

Non-resident visitors also need to take the OHV education course before driving an ATV in Utah. The online option makes it very simple to do so. When you apply for your non-resident permit, you can take the course at the same time. This applies to adults and minors.

Of course, non-residents still need to follow Utah laws of operation. This includes helmet-wearing for minors, highway and interstate rules, and equipment regulations.

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