If you own an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or off-highway vehicle (OHV) in Arizona, you may wonder if it is legal to take your vehicle on public roads and freeways. The answer depends on the modifications you have made to the vehicle, as well as if you have the correct equipment and insurance. Even if your ATV/OHV is street-legal in Arizona, it is important to take certain steps to keep yourself safe as an operator.
Can I Drive an ATV or OHV on the Street in Arizona?
Yes, ATVs and OHVs can be street legal in Arizona, but they must have all of the required equipment. Your vehicle must have the mandated equipment, an up-to-date vehicle registration with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) and a properly displayed OHV decal. Start by equipping your vehicle properly. The following equipment is required before you can drive on public streets:
- At least one brake that can be operated by hand or foot
- At least one rear red brake light or reflector
- At least one, but no more than two, front-facing headlights visible from 500 feet ahead
- At least one taillight visible from 500 feet to the rear
- A seat and footrests for the driver and each passenger
- A rearview mirror
- A USDA-approved spark arrestor device
- A muffler for the exhaust system that decreases engine noise to below 96 decibels
- A license plate and license plate lights
- A horn that can be heard from at least 200 feet away
- A fuel tank cap
- A 6” by 12” safety flag at least 8 feet above ground level if driven on sand dunes
- An off-highway vehicle decal as proof of registration
In most circumstances, the operator of an ATV or OHV must have a valid driver’s license to drive on a public road in Arizona. A driver’s license is also required to operate these vehicles on BLM-maintained roads or Forest Service roads. You must also have a certificate of title for your ATV or OHV to comply with the state’s road requirements as of 2009.
Do I Have to Wear a Helmet on an ATV or OHV in Arizona?
In Arizona, the use of helmets is not mandatory when riding ATVs and OHVs if the driver is over the age of 18. If younger than 18, a DOT-approved helmet is required at all times (for both drivers and passengers). All riders, regardless of age, must wear safety goggles. Even if you are not legally required to wear a helmet, you should do so for your own safety. Helmet use can protect you from suffering a serious head or brain injury if you get into an accident.
Do I Need to Have Insurance?
Yes, insurance is required if you plan on driving your ATV or OHV on the street in Arizona. Like an ordinary vehicle driver, you must carry liability insurance to operate ATVs and OHVs on public roads and freeways. The minimum required amounts are the same as for ordinary vehicles: at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance and $15,000 in property damage insurance. You may also need to have your emissions tested regularly if you live in Phoenix or Tucson.
Safety Tips When Driving an ATV/OHV on Public Streets
You must obey all applicable roadway rules when driving an ATV/OHV on roads in Arizona. You must ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic signs and signals, including speed limits and stop signs. Reckless operation, including riding under the influence, is prohibited. You may only ride on roads, trails and areas that are designated as open for motorized vehicle use by the land management agency. Under state law, you cannot destroy protected native plants or use your vehicle to harass wildlife.
For your own safety and the safety of others, always pay attention to the road and stay alert when operating an ATV or OHV on public roads. If you get involved in an off-road vehicle accident in Arizona, contact a personal injury attorney for assistance.