CHAPTER 255*
SNOWMOBILES AND ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES

      *See Secs. 23-26a to 23-26g, inclusive, re powers of Environmental Protection Commissioner with regard to operation of all-terrain vehicles on state land.

Table of Contents

Sec. 14-379. Definitions.
Sec. 14-380. Operation prohibited without valid registration. Exceptions.
Sec. 14-381. Requirements for registration. Application. Registration plates.
Sec. 14-382. Change of address. Transfer of ownership.
Secs. 14-383 and 14-384. Registration of snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle dealers. Temporary registration plates.
Sec. 14-385. Renting or leasing of snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles. Records required.
Sec. 14-386. Enforcement. Failure to stop snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle upon request.
Sec. 14-386a. Prohibited manner of operation. Penalty. Liability for property damage.
Sec. 14-387. Rules of operation. Violations.
Sec. 14-388. Penalties. Liability.
Sec. 14-389. Administration by Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Reciprocal agreements.
Sec. 14-390. Municipal regulation of operation and use.
Secs. 14-390a to 14-390e.
Sec. 14-390f. All-terrain vehicles: Effect of U.S. District Court consent decree.

      Sec. 14-379. Definitions. As used in sections 14-379 to 14-390, inclusive, subdivisions (3) and (4) of section 12-430 and sections 12-431, 14-33, 14-163 and 53-205, unless the context otherwise requires:

      (1) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles;

      (2) "Snowmobile" means any self-propelled vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, except vehicles propelled by sail;

      (3) "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;

      (4) "All-terrain vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle designed to travel over unimproved terrain that has been determined by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to be unsuitable for operation on the public highways and is not eligible for registration under chapter 246;

      (5) "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; and

      (6) "Operate" means to control the course of or otherwise use a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 3; P.A. 10-32, S. 53.)

      History: 1971 act redefined "operate" to include all-terrain vehicles and defined "all-terrain vehicle" and "all-terrain vehicle dealer"; P.A. 10-32 made technical changes, effective May 10, 2010.

      All-terrain vehicle qualifies for uninsured motorist coverage under the policy definition. 45 CS 144.

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      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.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 2; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 4; 857, S. 1; P.A. 76-202, S. 1, 2; P.A. 80-102.)

      History: 1971 acts changed date when registration required from October 1, 1969, to October 1, 1971, included all-terrain vehicles in provisions and specified how registration number to be displayed; P.A. 76-202 exempted snowmobiles operated in organized contests from provisions under certain conditions; P.A. 80-102 replaced display specifications with requirement that number be displayed "as prescribed in section 14-381".

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      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.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 3; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 5; 857, S. 2; P.A. 73-153; P.A. 75-213, S. 13, 53; P.A. 84-254, S. 54, 62; P.A. 85-525, S. 5, 6; P.A. 87-329, S. 19; P.A. 90-230, S. 83, 101; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-4, S. 35.)

      History: 1971 acts made provisions applicable to all-terrain vehicles and added specifications for display of registration number; P.A. 73-153 reduced height required for letters in display provision from five to three inches; P.A. 75-213 increased registration fee from $3 to $4; P.A. 84-254 periodically increased the fee from $4 to $8 as of July 1, 1992; P.A. 85-525 required biennial, rather than annual, registration of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles and doubled fee schedule accordingly; P.A. 87-329 maintained the fee at the level existing on and after July 1, 1986, and decreased the fee effective July 1, 1992, to the level formerly existing on and after July 1, 1988; P.A. 90-230 substituted "required to register" for "desiring to register"; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-4 increased registration fee to $20, effective January 1, 2004.

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      Sec. 14-382. Change of address. Transfer of ownership. (a) Within forty-eight hours after changing his address, the owner of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle registered by this state shall file with the commissioner notice in writing of such change. The owner's certificate of registration may be altered or the commissioner may issue a new certificate to indicate the new address.

      (b) The owner of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle registered by this state shall notify the commissioner in writing within twenty-four hours of the transfer of all or any part of his interest in, other than the creation of a security interest, or of the destruction or abandonment of, such snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle and surrender with such notice his certificate of registration and registration plate. Any such transfer, destruction or abandonment shall terminate such certificate.

      (c) Any person who transfers to another ownership of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle registered in this state, upon surrendering the outstanding certificate of registration and registration plate and upon application to the commissioner, may have another snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle registered in his name for the remainder of the registration period. The fee for such transfer which shall accompany the application shall be three dollars, and on and after July 1, 1992, three dollars and fifty cents.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 4; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 6; P.A. 84-254, S. 55, 62; P.A. 87-329, S. 20.)

      History: 1971 act made provisions applicable to owners of all-terrain vehicles; P.A. 84-254 amended Subsec. (b) to clarify that applications are made to the commissioner and to periodically increase the transfer fee from $2 to $4 as of July 1, 1992; P.A. 87-329 maintained the fee at the level existing on and after July 1, 1986, and decreased the fee effective July 1, 1992, to the level formerly existing on and after July 1, 1988.

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      Secs. 14-383 and 14-384. Registration of snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle dealers. Temporary registration plates. Sections 14-383 and 14-384 are repealed, effective July 1, 2005.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 5, 6; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 7, 8; P.A. 84-254, S. 56, 62; P.A. 87-329, S. 21; P.A. 05-218, S. 45.)

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      Sec. 14-385. Renting or leasing of snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles. Records required. Any person who is in the business, in whole or in part, of renting or leasing snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles shall keep a record of the name and address of every person who rents or leases a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle, the identification number thereof, the departure date and time and the expected time of return. The record shall be preserved for at least one year. Neither the owner nor any agent or employee of such business shall permit any snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle to depart from the premises of such business unless it is provided, either by the owner or lessee, with such safety devices and equipment as may be required by law.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 7; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 9.)

      History: 1971 act made provisions applicable to all-terrain vehicles.

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      Sec. 14-386. Enforcement. Failure to stop snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle upon request. (a) 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.

      (b) No person operating a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle shall refuse to stop his snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle after being requested or signaled 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.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 8; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 10; 857, S. 3; P.A. 76-381, S. 15.)

      History: 1971 acts gave constables, state park policemen and state forest policemen or forest rangers enforcement powers under Subsec. (a) and amended Subsec. (b) to include all-terrain vehicles in provisions and to require operator of vehicle to stop upon signal of property owner or his agent; P.A. 76-381 replaced provision for $50 maximum fine with statement that failure to stop is an infraction.

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      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.

      (P.A. 76-381, S. 17; P.A. 06-147, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 06-147 amended Subdiv. (3) to replace "while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by section 14-227a" with "while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both, as provided in subsection (a) of section 14-227a", made existing fine applicable only to violations of Subdiv. (1) or (2) of section or related regulation, and provided that any person who violates the provisions of Subdiv. (3) shall be subject to the penalties set forth in Sec. 14-227a.

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      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.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 9; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 11; 857, S. 4; 1972, P.A. 294, S. 15; P.A. 76-381, S. 16; P.A. 84-429, S. 69; P.A. 86-249, S. 8; P.A. 93-405, S. 2; P.A. 03-276, S. 4.)

      History: 1971 acts made provisions applicable to all-terrain vehicles, included domestic animals in Subdiv. (7), added Subdivs. (8) and (9) re operation on agricultural or posted land or on railroad rights-of-way, specifically stated right to operate vehicle on abandoned rights-of-way or on land specifically designated for the purpose and allowed regulation of hours of operation on public waters by ordinance; 1972 act included all-terrain vehicles in provision re operation on public waters; P.A. 76-381 deleted Subdivs. (2) to (4) banning operation at unreasonable rate of speed, in negligent manner or under influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, renumbering remaining Subdivs. accordingly, replaced numeric designators in exemption with alphabetic ones and added provision that violator deemed to have committed an infraction; P.A. 84-429 made technical change for statutory consistency; P.A. 86-249 amended Subsec. (6)(A) by adding provision making the operation of snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles on frozen surfaces of public waters subject to Sec. 25-43c; P.A. 93-405 amended Subdiv. (3) to provide that an all-terrain vehicle with an engine size of ninety cubic centimeters or less shall not be required to have front and rear lighting and shall not be operated after dark; P.A. 03-276 amended Subdiv. (5) by deleting "fenced agricultural land or posted" and by adding "which written permission shall be carried on the person operating the all-terrain vehicle while on such land", effective July 1, 2003.

      See Sec. 23-26g re infractions committed through violations of Environmental Protection Commissioner's regulations re operation of all-terrain vehicles on state land.

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      Sec. 14-388. Penalties. Liability. Except as otherwise provided, any person who violates any of sections 14-379 to 14-390, inclusive, or any regulation relating thereto shall have committed an infraction for each such offense. 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.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 10; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 12; 857, S. 5; P.A. 76-381, S. 18.)

      History: 1971 acts included all-terrain vehicles in provisions, included in responsibilities liability for damage to crops and fences and added reference to action for damages and consequential damage; P.A. 76-381 replaced provision for $250 maximum fine with statement that violation is an infraction unless otherwise provided.

      See Sec. 23-26g re penalties for violation of Environmental Protection Commissioner's regulations re operation of all-terrain vehicles on state land.

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      Sec. 14-389. Administration by Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Reciprocal agreements. In the performance of his duties under sections 14-379 to 14-390, inclusive, the commissioner shall (1) prescribe uniform standards for such safety devices and equipment as he deems necessary and certify the types of devices and equipment which meet such standards and (2) promulgate such regulations respecting the registration, operation, sale and leasing of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles as he finds necessary for public safety. The commissioner may enter into reciprocal agreements with the commissioner of motor vehicles or other like authority of any other state for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of said sections.

      (1969, P.A. 752, S. 12; 1971, P.A. 848, S. 13.)

      History: 1971 act made provisions applicable to all-terrain vehicles.

      See Secs. 23-26b, 23-26d and 23-26f re Environmental Protection Commissioner's powers to regulate all-terrain vehicles operating on state land.

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      Sec. 14-390. Municipal regulation of operation and use. Any municipality may, by ordinance, regulate the operation and use, including hours and zones of use, of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles in a manner not inconsistent with the provisions of sections 14-379 to 14-390, inclusive, or any regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

      (P.A. 73-318, S. 1, 2.)

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      Secs. 14-390a to 14-390e. Reserved for future use.

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      Sec. 14-390f. All-terrain vehicles: Effect of U.S. District Court consent decree. (a) As used in this section:

      (1) "All-terrain vehicle" means any three or more wheeled motorized vehicle, generally characterized by large, low-pressure tires, a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering, which is intended for off-road use by an individual rider on various types of nonpaved terrain. Such vehicles do not include trail bikes, golf carts, agricultural tractors, farm implements and construction machines;

      (2) "All-terrain vehicle dealer" means any person engaged in the business of selling, leasing or renting all-terrain vehicles at retail, at a regular place of business; and

      (3) "All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree" means the consent decree approved by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on April 28, 1988, in settlement of Civil Action No. 87-3525, U.S. v. American Honda, et al.

      (b) Each all-terrain vehicle offered for sale, lease or rental by an all-terrain vehicle dealer shall bear the safety warning hang tags pursuant to Paragraph H.3.b.(4) (a) of the All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree. Each all-terrain vehicle dealer shall: (1) Deliver a copy of the all-terrain vehicle safety alert to each all-terrain vehicle purchaser pursuant to Paragraph H.3.b. (4)(c) of the All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree; (2) prominently display the safety poster, pursuant to Paragraph H.3.b.(4) (d) of the All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree; (3) have the safety video readily available for viewing by prospective and actual all-terrain vehicle purchasers pursuant to Paragraph H.3.b (4)(b) of the All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree; (4) conform to the guidelines for advertising and promotional materials attached as Appendix K to the All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree; (5) represent affirmatively, including in print and electronic media for advertising or promoting all-terrain vehicles and in point-of-purchase oral communications, that all-terrain vehicles with engine sizes of more than ninety cubic centimeters shall be used only by persons sixteen years of age or older; (6) comply with point-of-purchase communication requirements of the All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree; (7) orally inform the prospective or actual all-terrain vehicle purchaser of the free training courses offered by the manufacturers pursuant to Paragraph K of the final All-Terrain Vehicle Consent Decree and of the financial incentives for taking the course. Oral communications of all-terrain vehicle dealers shall not contain information inconsistent with any safety-related requirements of this section.

      (c) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (b) of this section shall have committed an infraction.

      (P.A. 91-399.)

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