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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 954 days

New laws approved regulating use of utility terrain vehicles

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Published: April 17, 2012 by the Central Office

MADISON -- A new Wisconsin law providing for permanent registration and updated regulation of utility terrain vehicles will go into effect on July 1, 2012. The law has grown from popular UTV pilot programs the Department of Natural Resources conducted over the last several years.

Any UTVs registered during the pilot program will continue to be registered with the previously assigned registration identification number and registration period. The Department will be providing more detailed information to the public in the future through their website, press releases and informational pamphlets.

The major changes include:

  • Utility terrain vehicle means a motor driven device that is not a golf cart, low-speed vehicle, dune buggy, mini-truck, or tracked vehicle, that is designed to be used primarily off highway, and originally manufactured with and equipped with all of the following:
    • a net weight of less than 2,000 pounds;
    • a cargo box installed by the manufacturer;
    • a steering wheel;
    • a tail light;
    • a brake light;
    • two headlights;
    • a width of not more than 65 inches;
    • seats for at least 2 occupants, on non-straddled seats;
    • seat belts; and
    • roll bar or similar device designed to reduce the likelihood that an occupant would be crushed as the result of a rollover.
  • UTVs will follow nearly all the ATV laws, except where specifically referenced.
  • UTVs will have a specific UTV decal.
  • UTV registration categories will be the same as ATVs (agriculture, private, or public).
  • UTV operators at least age 16 and those born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 must be a graduate of an approved ATV Safety Certification Course to operate in areas open to the public.
  • The agricultural use definition for ATVs and UTVs is modified to be consistent with the Department of Transportation. Agricultural use now means transporting farm implements, equipment, supplies, or products on a farm or between farms.
  • Creation of a new, non-resident, UTV trail pass.
  • New, $20, five day ATV and UTV non-resident trail pass.
  • Effective July 1, 2012 a new, $5 late registration renewal fee will be assessed for customers renewing their registration after the expiration date.
  • UTVs will follow all ATV snow removal laws.
  • UTV generated funding for UTV trails.
  • UTV passengers are only allowed in seats that the UTV was originally manufactured with. Riding in the bed or cargo box of a UTV will be illegal.
  • ATVs and UTVs are now required to display a rear license plate, in addition to the side decals. Plate can be created or purchased by the registered owner. Plate specifications are 4 inches high by 7 1/2 inches wide, white in color with black lettering. Letters must be a minimum of 1 1/2 inches high and 3/16 stroke. Registered owners must display their six digit, registration ID numbers on the plate.
  • Commercial license holders will also create/purchase their own plates to display their commercial decals upon.
  • Certain ATVs that do not currently fit the ATV definition may be registered as UTVs, such as ATVs weighting more than 900 pounds.
  • Beginning July 1, 2012, registrations and annual trail passes will expire March 31.
  • Beginning 2013, the first full weekend in June will be a registration free weekend for ATVs and UTVs.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: on laws and safety contact Gary Eddy, Law Enforcement - 608-267-7455 ; for registration and trail passes contact Penny Kanable, customer and outreach services - 608-264-8985; for trail grants, maintenance and signage contact Diane Conklin, community financial assistance - 715-822-8583

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Last Revised: Tuesday, April 17, 2012