Continuing in our series of articles analyzing the ATV laws in every state, which stemmed from this article, we are addressing the ATV laws in Alabama in this article. It should also be noted that, while I am an attorney, I am not your attorney and am not giving legal advice. If you have questions, you should consult a local attorney.
How does Alabama Define an ATV and UTV?
Alabama defines an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), also known as a quad, quad bike, three-wheeler, or four-wheeler, as a vehicle that travels on low-pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator, and with handlebars for steering control.
Alabama defines a UTV, also referred to in Alabama as Utility Task Vehicle or Recreational Off Highway Vehicle (ROV) is defined as a motorized off-road vehicle designed to travel on four or more non-highway tires, with a steering wheel, non-straddle seating, seat belts, an occupant protective structure, and engine displacement up to 1,000cc.
Are you Required to Register or Title your ATV or UTV in Alabama?
You are not required to title or register your ATV or UTV in Alabama. In fact, you are not even permitted to title your ATV or UTV, and can only register one under certain circumstances.
An ATV or UTV can only be registered if it, and the ownership documents, is inspected by a license plate issuing official, who verifies at least one of the following:
- The manufacturer’s statement of origin (MSO) or manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO) states that the vehicle complies with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The MSO, title or bill of sale may reflect that the vehicle is for off road use only, which indicates that the vehicle is not intended for use on the public roadways and cannot be registered.
- A certification label meeting the requirements of 49 CFR Part 567 that, among other things, identifies the vehicle’s manufacturer (i.e., the actual assembler of the vehicle), vehicle identification number, the vehicle’s date of manufacture (month and year), and containing the
following statement: “This vehicle conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards in effect on the date of manufacture shown above.”
- Imported motor vehicles may not be titled or registered unless the vehicle is determined to be in compliance with FMVSS by the NHTSA or a registered importer as provided by 49 C.F.R. Section 591. Imported motor vehicles that are 25 model years old or older are not subject to FMVSS and may be titled and registered with proper ownership
An ATV or UTV, not subject to titling, that is eligible to be registered, must have proper ownership documentation. This documentation includes a bill of sale, court order, properly assigned certificate of origin or certificate of title or any other documentation as specified by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
An ATV or UTV may be registered with the State Law Enforcement Agency. If you buy your ATV or UTV from a dealer, they will take care of the registration for you.
Are you Required to have a Driver’s License or pass a Safety Course to Operate an ATV or UTV in Alabama?
In Alabama, you are not required to possess a driver’s license or have passed any special safety course or training to operate an ATV or UTV.
Where are you Permitted to Operate an ATV or UTV in Alabama?
It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV on public streets in Alabama. Specifically, Alabama prohibits on public streets any “vehicles specifically designed by their manufacturers as off-the-road vehicles.”
It is also unlawful to operate a motor vehicle, including ATVs or UTVs on the beaches and sand dunes on the Gulf of Mexico, except on private property with permission.
Popular places in Alabama to operate ATVs and/or UTVs include the following locations:
- Mudders Off Road Park;
- Flint Creek;
- Beason’s ATV Park;
- Kentuck ATV Trail;
- Southern Ridge ATV Park;
- Manooka OHV Park:
- BullPen ATV Park; and
- The Ridge.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property
- Any operator of an ATV or UTV shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.