State of North Carolina


*** 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 North Carolina under Chapter 14 of North Carolina statutes. These statutes cover use of off-highway vehicles on public and private lands.


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




Summary of legislation regulating ATV use

Restrictions on underage operators
No person under the age of 8 may operate a off-highway vehicle.

Children under the age of 12 are restricted to operating a off-highway vehicle with an engine size 70cc or less.
Children under the age of 16 are restricted to operating a off-highway vehicle with an engine size 90cc or less.

Children under the age of 16 operating off-highway vehicles must be directly supervised by an adult over the age of 18.
Safety certificate required
Effective October 1, 2006, every ATV operator born on or after January 1, 1990, must have an ATV Safety Certificate.




Helmet required
All off-highway vehicle operators and riders are required to wear DOT approved helmets and eye protection at all times.




Restrictions on carrying passengers
No operator may carry a passenger on a off-highway vehicle unless the vehicle was designed to carry passengers.



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



Restrictions on operation during hours of darkness
No ATV shall be operated without a lighted headlight and taillight from hour after sunset to hour before sunrise.





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OHV Registration / Permit
North Carolina does not currently require registration of off-highway vehicles, however some areas such as OHV trails and parks may require a local OHV permit. Non-residents are recommended to possess valid out-of-state registration and decals on the vehicle.



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 North Carolina ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the North Carolina OHV Act.