Senate Bill No. 128
(By Senators Tomblin (Mr. President) and Sprouse
By Request of the Executive)
[Introduced January 13, 2003; referred to the Committee on
Transportation; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend chapter seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twenty-four,
relating to establishing the "All-Terrain Vehicle Safety
Regulation Act"; providing definitions; regulating the
operation of all-terrain vehicles on certain public roads,
state roads and state recreation areas; prohibiting operation
of all-terrain vehicles on another person's property without
permission; requiring wearing of helmets on all-terrain
vehicles by persons under the age of eighteen on public
property and by persons sixteen and under when on another's
private property; prohibiting passengers by a person under the
age of eighteen on public property; prohibiting the use of
all-terrain vehicles on public property without a valid
operator's license or completion of an all-terrain vehicle training course; prohibiting operation of all-terrain vehicles
while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or in a careless
or reckless manner; setting speed limits while on public
property; requiring illuminated lamps while on public
property; allowing pursuit by police officers on private
lands; prohibiting buying of certain sized all-terrain
vehicles for use by children; requiring operation in
accordance with the act; setting forth requirements for those
selling, leasing or renting all-terrain vehicles; requiring
accident reports; and providing criminal penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twenty-four, to read as
ARTICLE 24. THE ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE SAFETY REGULATION ACT.
§17C-24-1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as "The All-Terrain
Vehicle Safety Regulation Act."
§17C-24-2. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds and declares that there is an increasing
need for regulation and control of the use and operation of all-
terrain vehicles in this state given the incidences of injury and
fatality witnessed in this state and nationwide:
(a) West Virginia has an average of twenty-one all-terrain
vehicle deaths per year from January, two thousand, through
December, two thousand two;
(b) Nearly twenty-five percent of the deaths were among
children sixteen years old and younger;
(c) More than ninety-five percent of all-terrain vehicle crash
victims in this state were not wearing helmets;
(d) One-third of all-terrain vehicle crashes involved
passengers on the machines intended for only one rider;
(e) About forty percent of all-terrain vehicle crashes occur
on paved streets or roads; and
(f) Between one thousand nine hundred eighty-two and two
thousand one, one thousand seven hundred fourteen children were
killed riding all-terrain vehicles in the United States, seven
hundred ninety-nine of those children were under age twelve.
(a) "All-terrain vehicle" means any off-highway vehicle fifty
inches or one thousand two hundred seventy millimeters or less in
width, having a dry weight of eight hundred pounds or three hundred
sixty-three kilograms or less, traveling on three or more low-
pressure tires, having a seat or saddle designed to be straddled by
the operator and handlebars for steering control, and such other
off-highway vehicles as may be designated by the division.
(b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the division of
motor vehicles of this state.
(c) "Division" means the division of motor vehicles of this
(d) "Owner" means any person having a property interest or
title to an all-terrain vehicle and entitled to the use and
possession of the vehicle.
§17C-24-4. Prohibited acts by operator.
(a) No all-terrain vehicle may be operated:
(1) On any road in the state road system, as defined in
section two, article four, chapter seventeen of this code, other
than state local service roads and park and forest roads: Provided,
That an all-terrain vehicle may be operated on truckling and feeder
roads to the extent necessary to cross a road, with the exception
of an expressway, by the most direct route: Provided, however,
That such crossing is done at an angle of approximately ninety
degrees to the direction of the truckling and feeder roads and at
a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing:
Provided further, That an all-terrain vehicle may be operated on
such other public roads, as defined in chapter seventeen, article
one, section three of this code, which are not a part of the state
road system or streets or roads within municipalities or
(2) On public property including any state or public road by
any person under the age of eighteen unless he or she is wearing a
protective helmet of a type approved by the United States department of transportation;
(3) On public property including any state or public road by
any person under the age of eighteen with a passenger at any time;
(4) Upon any public property including any state or public
road by any operator unless he or she possess any valid operators
license in accordance with the provisions of article two of chapter
seventeen-b of this code: Provided, That persons under the age of
sixteen who satisfactorily complete an all-terrain vehicle rider
training course approved by the commissioner of the division of
motor vehicles may so operate an all-terrain vehicle only when
accompanied by and in plain sight of an adult all-terrain vehicle
(5) In a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger or
cause injury or damage to any person or property;
(6) While under the influence of alcohol or any controlled
substance, or under the influence of a prescription or
nonprescription drug that impairs vision or motor coordination;
(7) While on any state or public road at a speed greater than
twenty-five miles per hour; or
(8) While on any state or public road without head and tail
(b) It is unlawful for any person to ride an all-terrain
vehicle upon the fenced, enclosed or posted grounds or lands of
another person without permission in writing from the landowner, tenant or agent of such landowner, and every person riding upon
such lands shall have in his or her possession such written
permission when so doing. If the landowner, tenant or agent of
such landowner allows a child under the age of sixteen to ride an
all-terrain vehicle on such land, they must require the child to
wear a protective helmet of a type approved by the United States
department of transportation. Any person who, for the purpose of,
all-terrain vehicle riding, without the permission of the owner,
tenant or agent of the owner, enter upon the land of another and
while thereon kills or injures any domestic animal or fowl, or
cuts, destroys or damages any bars, gates or fence, or any part
thereof, or leaves open any bars or gates thereon resulting in
damage to the owner or occupant thereof, is guilty of a
misdemeanor, and in addition is liable to the owner or person
suffering such damage for all resulting costs and damages.
(c) No provision of this section may be construed to prohibit
a municipal, county or state law-enforcement officer from entering
upon private lands in pursuit of the operator of an all-terrain
vehicle who is violating a provision of this article.
(d) All-terrain vehicles may be operated only upon public
roads, trails and other readily recognizable passageways such as
logging roads and oil or gas well roads within the boundaries of
any state recreational area including the Hatfield-McCoy recreation
area. All-terrain vehicles may not be operated upon mountain biking, horseback riding or hiking trails if the trails are open
and operating as mountain biking, horseback riding or hiking
trails, unless they are posted as permitting all-terrain vehicle
use. All-terrain vehicles may not be operated on any trail or road
within the boundaries of any state recreational area where their
use is prohibited by posted signs. All persons operating all-
terrain vehicles in state recreational areas shall obey and comply
with all applicable state laws, rules, and posted signs.
§17C-24-5. Prohibited acts by owner, buyer.
(a) No person may knowingly buy or allow the use of an
all-terrain vehicle with an engine capacity of seventy cubic
centimeters of displacement or greater for use by a person under
twelve years of age.
(b) No person may knowingly buy or allow the use of an all-
terrain vehicle with an engine capacity of greater than ninety
cubic centimeters for use by a person under sixteen years of age.
(c) No owner may authorize or permit an all-terrain vehicle to
be operated contrary to the provisions of this act.
§17C-24-6. Requirements for dealers, lessors, rental agents.
(a) Persons selling new all-terrain vehicles:
(1) Must be licensed pursuant to chapter seventeen-a, article
six of this code and;
(2) Must display literature and signs approved by the
commissioner to inform the public of the provisions of this article; and
(3) Must offer a free all-terrain vehicle rider training
course approved by the commissioner, who shall promulgate emergency
rules for establishing such a course and approval within one
hundred eighty days after the enactment of this act, to each new
all-terrain vehicle buyer.
(b) Any person, renting or leasing an all-terrain vehicle must
offer safety training to all-terrain vehicle rental customers.
(c) Any person renting or leasing an all-terrain vehicle must
provide a protective helmet of a type approved by the United States
department of transportation and safety eyewear to all-terrain
vehicle rental customers.
§17C-24-7. Accidents and accident reports.
If an accident results in the death of any person, or in the
injury of any person which results in treatment of the person by a
physician, the operator or owner of each all-terrain vehicle
involved in the accident shall give notice of the accident in
accordance with division regulations. No later than one hundred
eighty days after the date of enactment of this act, the
commissioner shall promulgate emergency rules for giving such
§17C-24-8. Violations of article; penalties for misdemeanor.
(a) It is a misdemeanor for any person to violate any of the
provisions of this article unless such violation is by this chapter
or other law of this state declared to be a felony.
(b) Any person convicted of a misdemeanor for a violation of any of the provisions of this article for which another penalty is
not provided shall for a first conviction thereof be fined not more
than one hundred dollars; for a second such conviction such person
shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars; upon a third or
subsequent conviction such person shall be fined not more than five
hundred dollars or imprisoned in a county or regional jail for not
more than one month or both.
(c) Any person who violates this article by operating an all-
terrain vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any
controlled substance or impairing drug is guilty of a misdemeanor
and shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars for each
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create "The All-Terrain
Vehicle Safety Regulation Act" to regulate the use of all-terrain
vehicles. The bill prohibits use of ATVs on many state roads while
allowing for some exceptions. It requires minors to wear
protective helmets and prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to
carry a passenger at any time. It also requires operators to have
a valid operator's license or operators under age 16 must complete
an ATV rider training course and remain in plain sight of an adult
ATV rider. Buyers and owners may not allow children between the
ages of 12 and 16 to ride an ATV with an engine capacity of 90
cubic centimeters of placement or greater nor an ATV with an engine
capacity of 70 cubic centimeters or greater for anyone under 12
years of age. The bill provides civil and criminal penalties for
violations of the act.
This is a new article; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring
have been omitted.