Voluntary registration of off-highway utility vehicles begins Friday

Effective December 1, owners of multipurpose off-highway vehicles, or MPOHVs, may voluntarily register their vehicles so they may be driven on county roads. For qualifying vehicles, owners will be able to register their vehicles and receive a certificate of registration and a license plate. The annual registration fee is $20.mThe vehicle will not be titled. 

Owners of this type vehicle may continue to use the vehicles solely for off-road purposes without registration.

Generally, side-by-side utility vehicles, often called “utility task vehicles” or “UTVs,” will be eligible for registration, subject to compliance with the statutorily prescribed vehicle characteristics and safety features.

According to information from The Georgia Department of Revenue,  only off-highway vehicles manufactured after January 1, 2000 may be registered. Not all vehicles built for off-road purposes or purposes other than driving on roads will qualify for registration. To be registered, the vehicle must have “features specifically intended for utility use” and meet several specifications; they must operate at speeds between 25 miles per hour and 65 miles per hour, cannot be wider than 80 inches and must have a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 4,000 pounds as well as a minimum cargo capacity of 350 pounds. To be registered, the vehicle must travel on four or more wheels, use a steering wheel, and use a non-straddle seat. These requirements exclude the registration of dirt bikes, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, and other vehicles with handlebar steering, straddle seats, or less than four wheels.

Off-highway vehicles must also have features specifically intended for utility use in order to to be registered. Generally, this means that they must be designed and manufactured primarily for performing off-road tasks in agricultural, construction or industrial settings. This will exclude vehicles made for on-road use, regardless of whether such on-road use was intended for highways within Georgia or elsewhere. This will also exclude golf carts, which are designed primarily for recreational use and do not have features specifically intended for utility use. 

All registered off-highway vehicles must be equipped with headlights, brake lights, taillights, a rearview mirror, and safety belts. 

 Once an off-highway vehicle has been registered and issued either a license plate or a temporary operating permit, a driver with a valid driver’s license will be able to operate the registered vehicle “only on highways that are part of a county road system and shall be authorized to cross highways that are part of a municipal street system or part of the state highway system.” Registered vehicles are not permitted to be driven on interstates, state highways, or city streets.

Also, registered off-highway vehicles are not excluded from the normal registration requirements for motor vehicles. Motor vehicles driven on the roads of this state must have minimum liability auto insurance coverage. 

For more information, visit dor.georgia.gov/registering-multipurpose-highway-vehicle.