Newtown Department of Police Services
***** ATV ALERT *****
All Terrain Vehicles, better known as ATV’s are becoming very popular in our country and right here in our own community. ATV’s when operated safely and by educated persons can be a great form of recreation and a tool to those with land. However with the rise in ATV use this also brings a rise in concerns from the community. The Police Department are the first to hear of these concerns. To help curb some of these concerns we have pulled some of the more frequently violated laws related to ATV use in the state and summarized them for you.
If you have further question or concerns please call the Newtown Police Department at 203-270-4255.
To better understand these laws we should all be on the same page with what the State of CT considers an ATV. According to State law an ATV is any self propelled vehicle designed to travel across unimproved terrain and unsuitable for operation on public highways/roads. Examples would be quads, three wheelers, go-carts, mini bikes, snowmobiles, motor cross style bikes and so on CGS 14-379 Definitions.
All ATV’s are required to be registered as an ATV with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The exception is when they are operated on property owned or leased by the operator CGS 14-380 Registration.
The registration numbers must be displayed on the ATV.
No person operating an ATV shall refuse to stop his ATV after being requested or signaled to do so by an authorized law enforcement officer CGS 14-386 Enforcment.
Any person shall not operate an ATV in the following manner;
- Unreasonable speed for conditions,
- So to endanger any person or property,
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Sec. 14-386a Prohibited manner of operation).
Rules of Operation
Any person shall not operate an ATV in the following manner;
- On a public highway/roadway,
- In such a manner that the AVT makes excessive or unusual noise,
- Operation of an ATV without a muffler,
- Improperly working brakes,
- Insufficient lighting and reflecting devices,
- In a manner to harass of any game, wildlife or domestic animal,
- On any land without written permission of the owner or the agent of the owner, or on state-owned land or the land owned by a local municipality.
- On any railroad property or railway Sec. 14-387 Rules of Operation.
Connecticut General Statutes
As used in sections 14-379 to 14-390, inclusive, subsections (3) and (4) of section 12-430 and sections 12-431, 14-33, 14-163 and 53-205, unless the context otherwise requires: "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles; "snowmobile" means any self-propelled vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, except vehicles propelled by sail; "snowmobile dealer" means a person engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling new snowmobiles or selling new or used snowmobiles, or both, having an established place of business for the sale, trade and display of such snowmobiles. "All-terrain vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle designed to travel over unimproved terrain and which has been determined by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to be unsuitable for operation on the public highways which is not eligible for registration under chapter 246; "all-terrain vehicle dealer" means any person engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling new all-terrain vehicles, or both, having an established place of business for the manufacture, sale, trade and display of such all-terrain vehicles; "operate" means to control the course of or otherwise use a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.
Sec.14-380 Operation prohibited without valid registration.
Exceptions. On or after October 1, 1971, no person shall operate and no owner shall permit the operation of any snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle unless the owner holds a valid, effective registration awarded by this state or by another state or by the United States, provided such state or district of registration grants substantially similar privileges for snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles owned by residents of this state and registered under its laws, and unless the identification number set forth in such registration is displayed on such snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle as prescribed in section 14-381, provided every resident of this state shall obtain such registration from this state under the provisions of section 14-381, before such operation shall be lawful. The provisions of this section shall not apply (1) to the operation of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle on premises owned or leased by the owner of such snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle or (2) to the operation of a snowmobile in any organized contest as long as such snowmobile is operated in the contest area, provided the owner of such snowmobile holds a valid, effective registration awarded by this state or by another state or the United States.
Sec. 14-381 Requirements for registration. Application. Registration plates.
Any owner required to register a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle shall apply to the commissioner and shall file evidence of ownership by affidavit or document. Upon receipt of an application in proper form and the registration fee, the commissioner shall assign an identification number and provide the owner with a certificate of registration and registration plate. The registration plate, which shall be affixed by the owner, shall be displayed on the snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle at a place and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner. In addition to such registration plate, each snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle so registered shall display its registration number on each side of its front section, midway between the top and bottom of said front section, in letters or numbers at least three inches in height and made of a reflective material. The certificate of registration shall be carried on such snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle and shall be available for inspection whenever such snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle is being operated. The owner shall pay a fee of twenty dollars for each snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle so registered. Each such certificate of registration shall expire biennially on the last day of March.
Sec.14-386. Enforcement. Failure to stop snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle upon request.
- Any law enforcement officer of the Department of Environmental Protection, motor vehicle inspector, state police officer, uniformed municipal police officer, constable, state park policeman, state forest policeman or forest ranger may enforce the provisions of sections 14-379 to 14-390, inclusive.
- No person operating a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle shall refuse to stop his snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle after being requested or signalled to do so by an authorized law enforcement officer, or the owner or the agent of the owner of the property upon which such snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle is being operated. Any person operating a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle who refuses to stop his snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle upon such request or such signal by an authorized law enforcement officer shall have committed an infraction.
Sec. 14-386a. Prohibited manner of operation. Penalty. Liability for property damage.
No person shall operate a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle in the following manner: (1) At an unreasonable or imprudent rate of speed for existing conditions; (2) in a negligent manner so as to endanger any person or property; or (3) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both, as provided in subsection (a) of section 14-227a. Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision (1) or (2) of this section, or any regulation relating thereto, shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars for each offense. Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision (3) of this section shall be subject to the penalties set forth in section 14-227a. In addition thereto, the operator or owner, or both, of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle, shall be responsible and held accountable to the owner of any land where trees, shrubs, crops, fences or other property have been damaged as a result of travel of such snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles over such land, or where consequential damage has resulted from such travel. Proof of the registration number of the snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle shall be prima facie evidence in any prosecution or action for damages that the owner was the operator.
Sec.14-387. Rules of operation. Violations.
No person shall operate a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle in the following manner: (1) On any public highway, except such snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle, if operated by a licensed motor vehicle operator, may cross a public highway if the crossing is made at an angle of approximately ninety degrees to the direction of the highway and at a location where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing, the snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle is completely stopped before entering the traveled portion of the highway and the driver yields the right-of-way to motor vehicles using the highway, provided nothing in this subsection shall be construed to permit the operation of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle on a limited access highway, as defined in subsection (a) of section 13a-1; (2) in such a manner that the exhaust of the snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle makes an excessive or unusual noise; (3) without a functioning muffler, subject to the provisions of section 14-80, properly operating brakes, sufficient and adequate front and rear lighting and reflecting devices, except an all-terrain vehicle with an engine size of ninety cubic centimeters or less shall not be required to be equipped with front and rear lighting and shall not be operated after dark; (4) in any manner which would cause harassment of any game or domestic animal; (5) on any land without the written permission of the owner, or the agent of the owner, or in the case of state-owned land, without the written permission of the state agency or institution under whose control such land is, or in the case of land under the jurisdiction of a local municipality without the written permission of such municipality, which written permission shall be carried on the person operating the all-terrain vehicle while on such land; and (6) on any railroad right-of-way. Nothing in sections 14-379 to 14-390, inclusive, shall preclude the operation of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle (A) on the frozen surface of any public body of water, provided any municipality may by ordinance regulate the hours of operation of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles on public waters within such municipality and provided the operation of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle shall be subject to the provisions of section 25-43c; or (B) on any abandoned or disused railroad right-of-way or in any place or upon any land specifically designated for the operation of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles by statute, regulation or local ordinance. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall have committed a separate infraction for each such violation.