The fun generated by driving off-highway vehicles, or OHV, can be exhilarating. These vehicles are made for using off roadways and they can be anything from dirt bikes to vehicles with tracks. According to Florida Law:

An off-highway vehicle is defined as any all-terrain vehicle (ATV), two-rider ATV, recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV) or off-highway motorcycle (OHM) that is used off the roads or highways of this state for recreational purposes and that is not registered and licensed for highway use pursuant to Chapter 320, Florida Statutes.

Florida makes a distinction between off-highway vehicles and those which can be operated on public highways, such as jeeps and trucks. 4X4s and other such vehicles can be operated on and off roadways and must adhere to Florida road laws, as would any other vehicle. OHVs are not issued license plates, and they cannot be operated on public highways. Dune buggies and swamp buggies do not qualify as off-highway vehicles.

Requirements for Using Off-Highway Vehicles                                                 
Owners of off-highway vehicles need to apply for a certificate of title for the vehicle. They also need to properly affix an OHV decal on the vehicle if they plan to use it on OHV trails. You can get the decals at any tax collector office. It is important to remember these vehicles may not be used on public highways.

While youngsters can operate off-highway vehicles, if they are younger than 16 years old, and they plan on driving on public lands, they must be supervised by an adult. In addition, they must be able to show a certificate of satisfactory completion of an approved OHV safety course, either in the state of Florida or another jurisdiction. The only exception is if the youngster is visiting in Florida temporarily for fewer than 30 days.

Passengers can ride on an off-highway vehicle only if the vehicle is made to carry passengers. If it is not specifically designed to carry more than one rider, a passenger is a violation. This applies to all off-road vehicles.

Safety is a major concern with these vehicles and failure to adhere to the safety requirements could result in a fine of $100 or more. Those who are younger than 16 years old are required to wear eye protection, an approved safety helmet, and over-the-ankle boots. The helmet must meet the USDOT guidelines or those of the Snell Memorial Foundation.

As with driving a car, operating an off-highway vehicle while inebriated, under the influence of drugs or a controlled substance, or any substance that impairs vision or motor condition is prohibited. Reckless driving, which could cause injury or damage to others or property is also against the law.

Following the safety rules while operating an off-highway vehicle is vital to ensuring the time spent with that mode of recreation is fun and does not end badly. At Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., we believe in having a good time while being safe and following the rules.

As expert personal injury lawyers, we help people rebuild their lives after experiencing the pain caused by someone’s neglect, by not following rules and safety precautions. If you or a loved one has been injured, give us a call. Your first consultation is free. We serve the communities in and around North Port, Port Charlotte, and Edgewood, Florida. Contact us today for more information.