State of Texas


*** 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 Texas under the Texas Transportation Code, Parks & Wildlife Code. These statutes cover use of off-highway vehicles on public and private lands.

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



Summary of legislation regulating ATV use


Titling required
All residents of Texas are required to title their off-highway vehicle.




Registration required
All residents of Texas are required to register their off-highway vehicle under the Texas Off-Highway Vehicle Program for operation on public lands. A valid decal must be displayed on the vehicle.

Non-residents are also required to register their off-highway vehicles under the Texas Off-Highway Vehicle Program for operation on public lands. A valid decal must be displayed on the vehicle.
Use on public roads or highways prohibited
Operation of off-highway vehicles on public roads or highways is prohibited except to cross such roadways.




Restrictions on carrying passengers
It is unlawful for an operator to carry a passenger unless the vehicle is designed to carry passengers.




Minimum age
No child under the age of 6 may operate a off-highway vehicle on public lands.

All operators under the age of 14 are required to be directly supervised by a parent/guardian or a person over the age of 18 who is authorized by the child's parents/guardians.
Children between the ages of 6 and 11 are limited to operating a off-highway vehicle with an engine size 70cc or smaller.

Children 12-15 are limited to operating a off-highway vehicle with an engine size 90cc or smaller.
Children 16 years of age or older are permitted to operate a off-highway vehicle with an engine size greater than 90cc.



Safety certificate required
All operators riding on public lands are required to pass the Texas ATV Safety Course or hold equal certification from another state.



Muffler and spark arrestor required
All off-highways vehicles operated on public lands in Texas are required to have a working muffler system which restricts noise emissions and a working U.S. Forestry service approved spark arrestor.



Lighting required
All off-highway vehicles operated on public lands between one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise or at times of limited visibility are required to have working headlights, taillights and brake lights.



Helmet and eye protection required
All operators and riders riding on public lands require DOT approved helmets and adequate eye protection.



Reckless operation prohibited
A person may not operate an all-terrain vehicle on public property in a careless or reckless manner that endangers, injures, or damages any person or property.





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




OHV Registration / Permit
The Texas off-highway vehicle program requires all individuals, both residents and non-residents of Texas to register their off-highway vehicle. A valid decal must be displayed on the vehicle. Registration and decals are available at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or from participating vendors. Decals are valid from Sept 1 to Aug 31 of the following year.



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