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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi define an ATV or UTV?
Mississippi defines an “All-terrain vehicle” or “ATV” as “any motorized vehicle manufactured and designed exclusively for off-road use that is fifty (50) inches or less in width; has an unladen dry weight of one thousand (1,000) pounds or less; and travels on three (3), four (4) or more nonhighway tires.” To see what qualifies, check out this guide to ATV weight and this guide to ATV dimensions.
In Mississippi, a UTV fits the definition of “Recreational off-highway vehicle,” which is defined as “any motorized vehicle manufactured and designed exclusively for off-road use that is sixty-five (65) inches or less in width; has an unladen dry weight of two thousand (2,000) pounds or less; and travels on four (4) or more nonhighway tires.” To see what UTVs qualify under this definition, refer to this guide to UTV weight and this guide to UTV size.
Are you required to title an ATV or UTV in Mississippi?
You are not required to title your ATV or UTV in Mississippi. However, you may choose to have your ATV or UTV titled, for no charge, with the State Tax Commission.
There are many reasons you would voluntarily choose to obtain a certificate of title on your ATV or UTV. This document proves your ownership, which can be very helpful if your ride were to ever get stolen, or for when it comes time to sell your ATV or UTV, or if you move out of state and need to get it registered somewhere else. Especially since there is no charge, we highly recommend you get your ATV or UTV titled.
Are you required to have a driver’s license to operate an ATV or UTV in Mississippi?
To operate an ATV or UTV on any public land, you must have either a driver’s license or possess a certificate showing successful completion of an approved ATV safety course.
Youth regulations for ATVs or UTVs in Mississippi
- Youth under the age of 16 are required to wear an approved helmet while operating an ATV or UTV in Mississippi. Our favorite approved helmet comes from O’Neal and is a bargain considering the quality you get.
- Any youth under the age of 6 is not permitted to operate an ATV or UTV in a State park.
Rules for operating an ATV or UTV in a Mississippi state park
The following rules and regulations apply to anyone operating an ATV or UTV in a state park in Mississippi.
- Before operating an ATV or UTV in any State park, you are required to register yourself and any guests upon entry at the park office.
- Before operating an ATV or UTV in any State park, you must also sign a waiver consent of liability to remain on file at the park office, which is good for a calendar year.
- Anyone under the age of 21 must have the waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.
- Any person accompanying a rider under the age of 21 must also fill out an acknowledgment of responsibility, which will also be kept on file at the park office for one year.
- You must have proper identification on your person at all times while operating an ATV or UTV in a State park.
- Any person riding in a State park is required to wear a helmet.
- If you are involved in an accident or incident on an ATV or UTV in a State park, you must submit to drug and/or alcohol testing.
- Reckless operation or an ATV or UTV, including wheelies, donuts, jumps or other stunts, double riding (where not recommended by manufacture) or operating an ORV at greater than reasonable and prudent speed for the existing conditions in a State park is prohibited.
- It is prohibited to operate an ATV or UTV in a State park in such a way as to risk serious bodily injury to one’s self, another person or property.
- All ATVs and UTVs must be on designated trails.
- Use of an ATV or UTV on public roads or paved park roads in State Parks is prohibited.
- Any ATV or UTV must have a functioning spark arrester.
- All ATVs must have a muffler in working order that prevents operating noise over 90 decibels.
- You may not operate an ATV or UTV in a loud or annoying manner as to disturb other park guests.
- You are not permitted to wash an ATV or UTV on park grounds.
- You are not permitted to drain any fluid or operate an ATV or UTV that is visibly leaking fluids.
- You may not operate an ATV or UTV in a manner which damages or unreasonably disturbs the land, wildlife, or vegetation.
- You may not operate an ATV or UTV in a tree nursery or planting in
a manor which damages or destroys growing stock or creates risk of damage or destruction.
- Riding an ATV or UTV with passengers is only permitted unless the vehicle is so rated for passengers by the manufacture or as set forth by the USDOT. It is your responsibility to produce the proof of this and have it on your person at all times.
- Your ATV or UTV may only be operated while seated on the permanent, regular seat except where provided by the
- You may not operate an ATV or UTV in wetlands, streams or lakes.
- Any ATV or UTV accident or incident must be reported to the park office in writing within 24 hours. Forms are obtainable at park entrance gate. If you are incapacitated, the written report may be filed by another party familiar with the accident/incident. However that does not relieve you of your legal responsibility to file this report.
Rules for operating an ATV or UTV in a Mississippi wildlife management area
The following rules and regulations apply to anyone operating an ATV or UTV in a wildlife management area in Mississippi.
- No ATV or UTV is allowed on any public road open to licensed motorized vehicles or on power line/pipeline rights-of-ways.
- No loaded weapon may be in your possession when operating an
ATV or UTV.
- An ATV or UTV blocking any gate, road, trail, levee, right-of-way, or permit station may be towed the at owner’s expense.
- No ATV or UTVs are allowed on wildlife food plots or on areas leased for agricultural purposes.
- Harassment of wildlife is prohibited.
- Hunting from an ATV or UTV is prohibited unless you have a permit for Handicapped Hunter Access.
Can you make your ATV or UTV street legal in Mississippi?
This is the big question that everyone wants the answer to. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as it is not address by any Mississippi laws. It seems to depend on where you live as some locations will let you register your ATV or UTV as a motor vehicle while others won’t, and some areas the police don’t care where police in other areas are quick to write tickets.
Being street legal is going to depend whether they let you register your ATV or UTV as a motor vehicle. As a starting point, you will want to ensure get a certificate of title as discussed above. You will also have to make some modifications to ensure you have seat belts, if possible, and head lights, tail lights, turn signals, brake lights, a horn and DOT-approved tires. If you are interested check out this tire guide and this guide to street legal modifications.
- An owner or possessor of an ATV or UTV may not knowingly permit or authorize any person under the age of 21 to operate an ATV or UTV in
violation of state, local, or State Park rules and regulations.