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131028 Presentation to ATV/Off-Road Utility Vehicle Study Committee

Presentation by Mark Lowe, Director of the Iowa DOT's Motor Vehicle Division, to the Iowa Legislature's ATV/Off-Road Utility Vehicle Study Committee on October 28, 2013 discussing proposal to register ATVs/UTVs for road use.

Mark Lowe

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of 131028 Presentation to ATV/Off-Road Utility Vehicle Study Committee

1. Current authorized operation
Section 321.234A focuses on PURPOSE of use; section 321I.10 focuses on PLACE of use.
3. Practical impacts of proposed legislation
Based on registration only concept, DOT can register ATV/UTVs within the statewide Vehicle Registration and Titling System. Following issues should be considered:
Fee for new registration
Dealer requirements
Inconsistencies in safety standards
Inconsistency with registration of low speed vehicles

2. Current registration requirements
ATVs and UTVs are currently NOT motor vehicles subject to registration under Chapter 321.
Section 321.30 prohibits registration and titling of vehicles that don't meet federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Section 321I.3 does require registration of ATVs and UTVs operated on public lands, ice, or trails with the Iowa DNR via county recorders.
Applies to ATVs and UTVs operated on designated county roads and city streets under 321I.10.
Doesn't apply to government owned vehicles, or ATVs or UTVs used for farm purposes under 321.234A or used exclusively as farm implements.
Iowa Department of Transportation
Use of ATVs and UTVs on Iowa roads
Current authorized operation on Iowa roads.
Current registration requirements.
Practical impacts of proposed legislation.
Safety considerations.

4. Safety considerations
DOT's primary concern is safety.
Highway deaths have decreased as roads and vehicles have become safer.
Adding vehicles not made for highway use reverses that trend.

Presentation to ATV/Off-Road Utility Vehicle Study Committee
What is an ATV or UTV?
321.1(4): Defines “All-terrain vehicle” (ATV) as a motor vehicle designed:
to travel on three or more wheels
primarily for off-road recreational use.
Includes off-road utility vehicles (UTV), but not farm tractors or equipment, construction equipment, forestry vehicles, or lawn and grounds maintenance vehicles.
Section 321I.1(1)(a)
More specifically defines an “All-terrain vehicle” as a motorized vehicle with:
at least three three but no more than six non-highway tires
an engine displacement of less than 1000 cc's
a total dry weight of less than 1200 pounds and
a seat or saddle designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.
Section 321.1(47A)
Defines “Off-road utility vehicle” as a motorized flotation-tire vehicle with
at least four but no more than eight low-pressure tires
an engine displacement less than 1500 cc's
a total dry weight no more than 1800 pounds
a bucket or bench seat not straddled by the operator
a steering wheel or control levers for control.
Section 321I.1(17)(a) defines an “Off-road utility vehicle” almost identically, BUT describes the permissible tires as "non-highway tires or rubberized tracks" and limits the total dry weight to not more than 2000 pounds.
Purpose - 321.234A
Allows ATVs (and by inclusion UTVs) to be operated on highways:
for agricultural purposes between sunrise and sunset.
for surveying by a licensed engineer or land surveyor.
for construction or maintenance on or adjacent to the highway by public subdivision or utility.
for emergency services or rescue by public emergency service agency.
for mowing, installing trail signs, or maintaining a snowmobile or ATV trail designated by the Iowa DNR.
Place - 321I.10
Allows operation of ATVs and UTVs on county roads designated by the board of supervisors during a specified period. Directs board to evaluate traffic conditions and avoid unduly interfering with or hazarding conventional traffic.
Allows operation of ATVs and UTVs on streets designated by cities that are under city jurisdiction and within corporate limits. No direction to evaluate safety or specify period.
Subsection 5 allows DOT to permit trail crossings at primary highways.
Overlap between 321.234A & 321I.10
Each section cross references the other:
Section 321.234A allows operation on a county road or city street as permitted by section 321I.10.
Section 321I.10 prohibits operation of ATVs on roads or highways except as permitted by section 321I.10 or section 321.234A.
You can potentially be operating for a purpose and at a place that falls under both, but don't have to be -- meeting either criteria is sufficient.
Section 321.234A requires the operator have a valid license and the ATV or UTV be operated at speeds of 35 mph or less; that applies to operation on a public road under either section.
Divergence between the sections - stops along the way
Section 321I.10 allows the county or city to the authorize ATVs and UTVs to stop at service stations or convenience stores along a designated roadway.

Section 321.234A authorizes stops only for ATVs or UTVs operated for farm purposes, and only to obtain fuel, food, or a nonalcoholic beverage.
Federal safety label
Section 321.30 requires all vehicles registered under Chapter 321 to bear a label like this.
ATVs and UTVs don't meet federal vehicle safety standards.
They lack the label required for title and registration under Chapter 321.
Fee for new registration
As a vehicle subject to registration under Chapter 321, ATVs and UTVs, unless excepted, would be subject to the fee for new registration (five percent of the purchase price).

An owner that failed to maintain documentation of payment of sales tax could end up paying both.
Dealer requirements
Making ATVs and UTVs vehicles subject to registration under Chapter 321 makes ATV and UTV dealers subject to the dealer licensing requirements of Chapter 322 and 321I.22 unless excepted.
Inconsistency in safety standards
Section 321.30 prohibits registration of vehicles that do not meet federal motor vehicles safety standards. This section may need to be amended to allow registration of ATVs and UTVs.

Section 321.440 prohibits as unsafe the use of tires marked “not for highway use”, “for racing purposes only”, or “unsafe for highway use.” This section may need to be amended to allow for widespread use of ATVs and UTVs on the roads.
Inconsistency with registration of low speed vehicles
Low speed vehicles meets federal safety standards but have a top speed of 25 miles per hour. Low speed vehicles are currently subject to registration under chapter 321.

Low speed vehicles are registered on the usual weight and list value basis; there are vehicles we register as low speed vehicles that would qualify for flat fee registration as a UTV under the proposal.
University of Iowa Research
Research from University of Iowa's Hospitals and Clinics shows:
ATV's design for off road use makes them dangerous for on road use.
The narrow wheelbase and high center of gravity makes them prone to roll over.
The knobby, low pressure tires promote loss of control and roll over accidents on roads.
More than half of ATV deaths occur on roads. Since 1998, fatal road crashes have increased twice as fast as fatal off-road crashes.
Road crashes victims are twice as likely to suffer severe trauma and three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injury.
Manufacturer warnings
ATV manufacturers take the position that ATVs are not designed for road use and are not safe to operate on the road.
Rider licensing
ATVs handle differently than motor vehicles but we don't require special licensing or endorsements for them:
They turn differently and more widely and again are prone to roll-over accidents.
They are rider-active, meaning the way the operator rides affects the way the ATV handles.
Three-wheel motorcycles, which are designed for road use, require a skill test and special endorsement to operate.
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