Ohio utility vehicle laws

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In June, Ohio passed a state law allowing multipurpose farm utility vehicles to drive on all roads, except highways. Before this law, each municipality had jurisdiction to make their own rules.

In this week’s Farming 101, double check your knowledge of the Ohio laws concerning such vehicles and always be sure to put safety first. Next week we’ll take a look at Pennsylvania’s laws.

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1What qualifies as a utility vehicle?
A utility vehicle is one designed with a bed, for transporting material or cargo to agricultural activities. Not all ATVs and APVs will be included in this definition.

2Do I need a license and registration?
A 2009 law required registration for APVs and ATVs, defined as “self-propelled vehicles designed primarily for cross-country travel” — but the law exempted APVs and ATVs used for farming.

As long as the utility vehicle is used primarily for agricultural purposes and the owner qualifies for current agricultural use valuation (CAUV) it does not require registration or a license.

3Can I drive on the berm?
A farmer may drive a utility vehicle on the berm or shoulder of a roadway if the terrain permits such operation to be undertaken safely and without entering a traffic lane. If the farmer cannot operate on the berm without entering a traffic lane, the farmer should operate entirely on the roadway.

4Can my child drive?
A child who does not hold a driver’s license may not operate the utility vehicle on a roadway or on any portion of the right-of-way.

A child under 16 may operate a utility vehicle on the family’s farm, and may also operate on another’s farm or private property if accompanied by a person who is at least 18 and holds a driver’s license.

5Do I need a helmet?
No, drivers of utility vehicles operated for farm use are not required to wear a helmet on roadways.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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