All-terrain vehicles (ATV) are designed for off-road use. They are perfect for hunting and landscaping purposes, but they can be used for so much more. If you are curious about owning one of these vehicles, safety is one of the most important considerations. Read on to learn everything you need to know about ATV safety laws in Missouri.
Driving on Highways
Driving an ATV on the highway is extremely dangerous. Unless the vehicle is government-owned and operated and on official duty, ATVs are simply not allowed on Missouri highways. You can use it for agricultural purposes between sunrise and sunset, but you must have a valid operator’s license and you should not exceed the maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. You also need to be at least 16 years old to operate an ATV in Missouri unless you are accompanied by an adult.
Driving on Private Property
You cannot operate an ATV on private land without the owner’s permission. You are not allowed to operate the vehicle in any stream or river either, unless it is within the boundaries of the private land where you have the permission to operate it. Keep in mind that railroad tracks are private property, including the land on which they occupy. Apart from breaking the law, operating an ATV in this area is putting your life in significant danger.
General Safety Precautions
You may be charged for illegally operating an ATV:
- Without a proper safety helmet
- While intoxicated or under the influence of other drugs
- In a careless manner such that you are endangering another person or property
- With a passenger, unless it’s for agricultural purposes
It is also important to ensure that your ATV has the following safety equipment:
- A functional brake system
- A spark arrestor
- A proper muffler system
- A bicycle flag – must be attached to the back of the vehicle when riding on the highway or any street and should extend at least 7 feet above the ground
- An equipment emblem planted at the back of the vehicle when operating it
- A lighted head and tail lamp when operating the ATV
Children and ATVs
As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your children are mentally and physically prepared to operate an ATV before allowing them behind the wheel. Additionally, ATVs come in different sizes so it is equally important to find a vehicle that matches the rider. Attending a certified ATV safety course is a great way to teach your kids about the importance of safety when operating an ATV.
Missouri has a strong emphasis on safety when it comes to operating ATVs. If you are found breaking any safety laws, you may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. For more information or any legal assistance, contact Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC today at our office.