State of New Mexico


*** NOTICE ***
This page includes a brief summary of provincial/state laws regulating ATV / Off-highway vehicle use current to April 2012. It is not intended as an absolute reference as laws are subject to change without notice and many potential prohibited acts may be covered by other legislation or statutes. It is recommended that you consult with the latest version of state statutes or provincial legislation.
General prohibited acts that may not be covered by specific OHV legislation include trespassing on private property, unlawful use of OHV on public highways, reckless use of off-highway vehicles, operation of off-highway vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, damage to public or private property or damage to natural habitats or protected areas which are all unlawful in every province and state.
Preamble

ATV's and other off-highway vehicles are regulated in the state of New Mexico under Chapter 66 - Off-Highway Motor Vehicles Act of New Mexico statutes. These statutes cover use of off-highway vehicles on public and private lands.

For more information on New Mexico ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the New Mexico OHV Act.



Summary of legislation regulating ATV use

Titling required
All residents of New Mexico are required to title their off-highway vehicles.



Registration required
All residents of New Mexico are required to register their off-highway vehicle for operation on public lands.

Non-residents are required to purchase a New Mexico OHV Permit unless they possess valid out-of-state registration and registration decals.
Residents of the following states MUST obtain a New Mexico OHV permit while operating off-highway vehicles on public lands in New Mexico as their home states do not currently have OHV registration in place. Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alaska, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, Florida, Kansas, Nevada, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia.


Safety Certificate required for underage operators
All operators of off-highway vehicles in New Mexico under the age of 18 are required to pass the New Mexico ATV Safety Course and obtain a safety certificate.

Helmets and eye protection required for underage operators and riders
All operators and riders of off-highway vehicles in New Mexico are required to wear DOT approved helmets and adequate eye protection.

Restriction on carrying passengers
Operators of off-highway vehicles under the age of 18 may NOT carry passengers on the vehicle.

Passengers may only be carried if the vehicle is designed to carry a passenger.
Minimum age
No person under the age of 10 may operate an adult sized off-highway vehicle in New Mexico.

Children under the age of 10 may only operate an off-highway vehicle that is appropriate for their age, size and weight and must be directly supervised at all times by a parent of legal guardian.
A child between the ages of 10 and 12 may only operate a off-highway vehicle if directly supervised by a person over the age of 18 who possesses a valid drivers license.

A child 13-14 years of age must be directly supervised by a person over the age of 18 who possesses a valid drivers license unless the child has a valid motorcycle license and has passed the New Mexico ATV safety course.
A child 15-17 years of age must directly supervised by a person over the age of 18 who possesses a valid drivers license unless the child possesses a valid drivers license or provisional license and has passed the New Mexico ATV safety course. Operation on public roadways prohibited



Public roadway operation prohibited

Operation of off-highway vehicles on public roadways or highways is prohibited, except to cross such a roadway.



Headlights required during times of limited visibility or darkness
Working headlights and taillights and brake lights are required when operating a off-highway vehicle during times of darkness or limited visibility.



Muffler and spark arrestor required
All off-highway vehicles are required to have working muffler systems which restrict sound emissions greater than 96db.

All off-highway vehicles are required to have working U.S. Forestry Service approved spark arrestors.
Other general prohibitions
A person shall not operate an off-highway motor vehicle:
  • in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the person or property of another;
  • while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs as provided by Section 66-8-102 NMSA 1978;
  • while in pursuit of and with intent to hunt or take a species of animal or bird protected by law unless otherwise authorized by the state game commission;
  • in pursuit of or harassment of livestock in any manner that negatively affects the livestock's condition;
  • on or within an earthen tank or other structure meant to water livestock or wildlife, unless the off-highway motor vehicle is on a route designated by the landowner or land management agency as an off-highway motor vehicle route;
  • in a manner that has a direct negative effect on or interferes with persons engaged in agricultural practices;



Please visit our U.S. land use forums for discussions regarding land use and legal issues.




OHV Registration / Permit
All residents of New Mexico are required to Register their off-highway vehicles and display valid registration decals on the vehicle for operation on public lands.
Non-residents are required to possess valid out-of-state registration and valid registration decals on vehicle or to purchase a New Mexico OHV Permit



For More Information
This page represents a general summary of applicable state laws which apply to the operation of an off-highway vehicle. Laws are subject to change and laws other than specific off-highway vehicle related laws may be in place which may directly or indirectly apply to the operation of a off-highway vehicle in certain circumstances. Please consult with your state statutes if you have any questions.


For more information on New Mexico ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the New Mexico OHV Act.