CHAPTER 142

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 326

AS AMENDED BY

HOUSE AMENDMENT 1 & 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES AND REQUIRING THE REGISTRATION AND CONTROL OF OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES.

WHEREAS, the rapid growth in numbers and use of off-highway vehicles and their increasing impact on many aspects of the public interest are matters of concern to the people of the State of Delaware; and

WHEREAS, registration and regulation of the use of such vehicles is an effective method to prevent their detrimental effects upon public safety and the State's natural resources, to provide procedures for establishment of ownership and for recovery of vehicles in case of theft, and to fix responsibility for damage or injury caused by their use;

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend §101, Chapter 1, Title 21, Delaware Code, by adding the following definitions thereto:

" 'Off-Highway Vehicle' or 'OHV' means a motor driven off-road vehicle capable of cross-country travel without benefit of a road or trail, on or immediately over land, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain. It includes, but is not limited to, a multi-wheel drive or low pressure tire vehicle, a motorcycle or related two-wheel vehicle, an amphibious machine, a ground effect air-cushion vehicle, or other means of transportation deriving motive power from a source other than muscle or wind. 'OHV' does not include a farm vehicle being used for farming, a vehicle used for military, fire, emergency, or law enforcement purposes, a construction or logging vehicle used in performance of its common function, or a registered aircraft. However, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to include snowmobiles.

'Decal' means the self-adhesive sticker issued by the Department bearing the registration number assigned to an off-highway vehicle.

'Organized or Special Event' is any competition involving motor vehicles that is conducted under the auspices of a recognized sanctioning body or under the authority of a governmental agency having jurisdiction over the area concerned.

'Competition Vehicle' is a vehicle that is specifically designated by its manufacturer as being intended solely for use during a special or competition event, and which is exclusively so used.

'OHV Dealer' includes every person engaged in the business of buying, selling or exchanging off-highway vehicles in that portion of this State located north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Persons offering OHV's for final delivery in that portion of this State located north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal through direct-mail order or through a catalog-order facility, regardless of where located, are considered to be '0HV Dealers', and subject to the provisions of this chapter.

`OHV' Operator' includes every person who is in actual physical control of an off-highway vehicle."

Section 2. Amend §101 (17), Chapter 1, Title 21, Delaware Code, by deleting the period and adding the following:

"or OHV."

Section 3. Amend §101 (20), Chapter 1, Title 21, Delaware Code, by deleting the period and adding the following:

"and OHV."

Section 4. Amend §101, Chapter 1, Title 21, Delaware Code, by adding after the word "motor vehicle" wherever it appears in subsections (22) and (49) the words "or OHV".

Section 5. Amend §101 (48), Chapter 1, Title 21, Delaware Code, by deleting the period and adding the following:

"and excepting OHVts."

Section 6. Amend Part IV, Title 21, Delaware Code, by adding a new chapter to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 68. REGISTRATION AND CONTROL OF OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES

0801. OHV registration

(a) Except as hereinafter provided, no person operate any off-highway vehicle within that portion of the State located north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal unless such vehicle has been registered in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter. Such registration shall not permit the vehicle to be operated on any highway except as hereinafter specifically provided. No person shall sell an OHV without furnishing the buyer a bill of sale.

(b) Proof of such registration shall be available for inspection upon demand by any peace, environmental protection, or law enforcement officer, however, the operator shall be allowed 24 hours to produce the registration card before a conviction can be obtained under the provisions, such registration having been legally issued at a time prior to his arrest.

(c) Snowmobiles are excluded from this chapter.

§6802. Application, issuance

Application for registration shall be made to the Department or their authorized agent as provided for in Chapter 21, Title 21, Delaware Code, in such form and in such manner as the Department shall prescribe, and shall state the name and address of every owner and be signed by at least one owner. Upon receipt of the application and the appropriate fee as hereinafter provided, such OHV shall be registered and a registration number decal assigned which shall be affixed to the OHV in such manner hereinafter provided. In the event that an off-highway vehicle sought to be registered or reregistered does not, after inspection and testing, comply with the provisions respecting equipment established by this Chapter or by the regulations of the Department promulgated pursuant to this Chapter, the Department may deny the issuance of a registration certificate.

§6803. Fees for registration

(a) The fee for registration of each off-highway vehicle, other than those registered by a dealer or manufacturer pursuant to clause (2) of this subdivision, shall be $6.00 for three years. The fee for a duplicate registration certificate shall be $2.00. The fee for a duplicate registration number decal shall be $2.00. The fee for a transfer or registration certificate shall be $2.00. All fees shall be waived for OHV's owned and used by the United States, or other state, or of this State or political subdivision thereof.

(b) OHV's owned by a licensed OHV dealer, as specified in §6809, Chapter 68, Title 21, Delaware Code, and operated for demonstration or testing purposes are exempt from a registration fee.

§6804. Renewal of registation

Every owner of an off-highway vehicle shall renew his registration in such manner as the Department shall prescribe, upon payment of the same-registration fees provided in §6803, Chapter 68, Title 21, Delaware Code.

§6805. Registration procedure

(a) Upon receipt of the required fee and an application on forms prescribed by it, the Department shall issue to the applicant a registration certificate stating the registration number, the name and address of the owner, and such other information as the Department deems necessary. The Department shall also issue one registration number decal per OHV. Such number decal shall contain reference to the State, and the registration number, and shall be of such size and displayed in such number as prescribed by the Department. Recofds of the Department made or kept pursuant to this chapter shall be public records except as otherwise provided.

(b) Upon receipt of the required fee and an application form prescribed by it, the Department shall issue to the applying dealer or manufacturer ten (10) registration number decals with additional decals being available for a fee of $2.00 per decal.

(c) If a registration certificate or decal is lost or destroyed, the owner may apply for a duplicate on forms provided for by the Department accompanied by a fee of $2.00. Upon receipt of a proper application and the required fee, the Department shall issue a duplicate registration certificate or number decal to the owner.

§6806. Surrender of registration certificate

(a) The owner of an OHV shall notify the Department within 15 days if the OHV is destroyed or abandoned, stolen, sold, or an interest therein transferred either wholly or in part to another person, or if his address no longer conforms to the address appearing on the registration certificate. The notice shall consist of a surrender of the registration certificate on which the proper information shall be noted, or written notice to the Department that the registration certificate, has been stolen.

(b) When surrender of the certificate is because the OHV has been destroyed or abandoned or has been stolen, the Department shall cancel the certificate and enter such fact in its records. If the surrender is because of a change of address of the owner, the new address shall be recorded by the department and a registration certificate bearing such information shall be returned to the owner. The transferee of a vehicle registered under this Chapter,

within 15 days after acquiring it, shall apply to the Department for transfer to him of the registration certificate issued to the OHV, giving his name, address and the number of the vehicle, and pay the Department a fee of $2.00. Upon receipt of the application and fee, the Department shall transfer the registration certificate issued for the OHV to the new owner. Unless the application is made and the fee paid within 15 days, the vehicle shall be deemed to be without a registration certificate and no person shall operate the OHV until a certificate is issued.

§6807. Out-of-State OHV registration

The Department shall issue a one-year registration number decal valid for the present calendar year, to out-of-state OHV's operated by a resident of a state or county where registration is not required.

The fee for this decal shall be $6.00.

§6808. Age Requirements

No application for an original certificate of registration shall be accepted by the Department from any person under 18 years of age unless said certificate is signed by at least one parent or guardian of said person, stating consent to said application.

§6809. OHV dealer license required.

OHV dealers, as defined herein, shall be licensed by the Department in accordance with such rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the Secretary. A fee of $50.00 shall be assessed for such license which shall be valid for three years. OHV dealers are not transferable and may be revoked for violation of such rules and regulations as may be specified for that privilege. OHV dealers shall be required to carry personal liability insurance in an amount at least equal to that required of dealers under no-fault insurance provisions or as otherwise specified by the Department.

§6810. OHV registration, exceptions and exemptions.

(a) A vehicle registered under Title 21, Title 23 (boats), or Title 2 (aircraft, Delaware Code, is exempt from the registration provisions of this Chapter.

(b) Registration is not required for an OHV which is operated exclusively in a special event upon a special area

location of limited duration which is conducted according to a prearranged schedule under a permit from the governmental unit having jurisdiction.

(c) No registration hereunder shall be required for the following described off-highway vehicles:

(1) OHV's covered by a valid registration of another state or country and which have not been within this State for more than 15 consecutive days.

(2) OHV's being operated by a resident of a state or country which does not require off-highway vehicle registration and which have been issued a one-year permit sticker as provided for in §6807, Chapter 68, Title 21, Delaware Code.

§6811. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

(a) Beginning not later than January 1, 1978, a manufacturer of an OHV shall stamp or permanently affix to the frame or body members of the OHV an identifying number unique to that vehicle in an easily visible location. The VIN Shall be entered on the registration certificate issued by the Department to the OHV owner.

(b) Posession of an OHV with an altered, intentionally defaced or obliterated vehicle identification number (VIN) is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not less than 30 days or more than six months, or by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $500, or both. The justice of the peace will have jurisdiction.

§6812. Special vehicles

The owner of a specially constructed, or reconstructed OHV may make application, accompanied by the required fees in such form as may be prescribed by the Department for a special vehicle identifying number. He shall furnish such information as will satisfy the Department that he is the owner, whereupon the Department shall assign a special vehicle identification number for the vehicle. The owner shall cause said number to be affixed as directed by the Department. Such special number shall be regarded as the permanent vehicle identification number (VIN) of said vehicle.

§6813. Specific OHV dealer responsibliities for rented or leased OHV's (a) A dealer shall maintain in safe operating condition an OHV offered for rent or lease by him. The dealer, his agents, or employees shall explain the operation of the OHV being rented or leased and if the dealer, his agent, or employee, believes that person to whom the OHV is to be rented or leased is not competent to operate the OHV with safety to himself or others, he shall refuse to rent or lease such OHV.

(b) The Department shall require such insurance and compliance with such additional rules and regulations regarding rental or lease of OHV's as it may deem necessary.

§6814. Operation of OHV's upon public highways, streets, sidewalks or rights-of-way

(a) Registered OHV's shall not be operated upon a public highway or street or sidewalk or right-of-way thereof located north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal except under the following conditions:

(1) An OHV may be pushed across or along'such public way provided such OHV is in neutral or that the power train is otherwise disengaged, and further provided that such shall be in conformance with Title 21, Chapter 41, Delaware

(2) An OHV may be operated on a street or highway located north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal for a special event of limited duration, conducted according to a prearranged schedule only under permit from the governmental unit having jurisdiction.

§6815. Operation of OHV's at excessive rate of speed

A person shall not operate an OHV at a rate of speed which cannot be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance.

§6816. Operation of OHV's while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances

A person shall not operate on OHV while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substance as defined in §4177, Chapter 41, Title 21, Delaware Code.

§6817. Operation of OHV's without lights

A person shall not operate an OHV during the period after sunset until sunrise without displaying a lighted headlight and lighted tail light.

§6818. Operation of OHV's without brakes

A person shall not operate on OHV unless such OHV is equipped with a brake or similar device adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold such OHV.

§6819. Operation of OHV's in a malicious manner; civil liability

(a) A person shall not operate an OHV in a manner to maliciously cause excessive damage or distrubances of the land, wildlife or vegetative resources, or endanger persons and property.

(b) The operator of the OHV shall be held liable for any damage to private property, including, but not limited to, damage to trees, shrubs, growing crops; injury to living creatures or damage through OHV operation in amanner so as to maliciously create orosive or other ecological damage to priviate property. However, if the operator is a minor, the parents or legal guardian of the operator shall be held personally liable for any and all damage and/or injuries, including civil or criminal liability caused by the minor in the operation of the OHV.

(c) The owner of such private property may recover from the person responsible nominal damages of not less than the amount of damage of injury.

§6820. Operation of OHV's without spark arrestor type mufflers

(a) A person shall not operate an OHV unless such OHV is equipped with a spark arrestor type muffler, in good working order and in constant operation, from which noise emission under 60% of the maximum RPM measured at 50 feet at right angles from the vehicle path on a constant speed pass by measurement does not exceed 88 dba on a sound level meter which meets the requirements of ANSI-514197, using procedure and ancillary equipment therein described. During the test procedure, the ambient sound including wind effects due to sources other than the OHV being measured shall be at least 10 dba lower than the anticipated level of the test OHV. A vehicle subject to the Act, manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1978, and used, sold, or offered for sale in this State shall conform to the noise emission levels of this Act unless preempted by Federal E.P.A. legislation.

(b) Competition vehicles shall be exempted from the provisions of this section only while in competition.

§6821. Operation of OHV's on private property

A person shall not operate on OHV upon any property in either public or private ownership without the express permission of the person in control of the property, or knowlingly in violation of any restrictions impOsed on such use by the person in control of the property.

§6822. Operation.of OHV's in violation of traffic controllers or traffic control devices

A person shall not operate on OHV in violation of instructions of any person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic, or in violation of any official traffic control device applicable thereto.

§6823. Safety requirements; helmets and chin straps

A person shall not operate a two-wheel or three wheel OHV unless the operator and all passengers are wearing a protective helmet on their heads, with the chin straps properly fastened, meeting American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z-90.1, 1966-1971 specifications or specifications as may be subsequently revised by American National Standards Institute.

§6824. Operation of OHV's by minors, incompetent persons or persons under mental or physical disabilities

(a) A person less than twelve (12) years of age may operate an OHV only if:

(1) He is under the direct supervision of a person who is at least 18 years of age; or

(2) He is on land owned by or under the control of his parent or legal guardian.

(b) Persons twelve (12) years of age and older may operate on OHV without adult supervision provided such use is in compliance with all other provisions of this Chapter.

(c) A parent or legal guardian shall not permit

his child under the age of twelve (12) to operate an OHV except under the direct supervision of an adult.

(d) The owner of an OHV shall not permit:

(1) His vehicle to be operated by a person under the age of twelve (12) except under direct adult supervision.

(2) His vehicle to be operated by a person who is incompetent to operate such vehicle because of mental or physical disability, or because of being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substance as defined by §4177, Title 21, Delaware Code.

§6825. Identifiication of persons operating OHV's upon public or private property

Any person operating on OHV upon public or private property shall stop and identify himself upon the request of the person in control of the property, and shall promptly comply with such restriction as may be imposed or remove his OHV from the premises if requested to do so.

§6826. Safety education program

(a) The Department shall implement a comprehensive OHV information and safety education program which shall include the preparation and dissemination of information and safety advice to the public.

(b) In implementing a program which is established pursuant to this section, the Department shall cooperate with private organizations and associations, private and public corporations, the Department of Public Instruction, State and local parks and recreation departments, local governmental units, and local and county law enforcement agencies.

§6827. Accidents

(a) The operator of an OHV involved in an accident resulting in an injury to another person or in a dealth shall immediately report such accident by the quickest available means of communication, to a State Police Officer or the local law enforcement officer for New Castle County or the municipality wherein the accident occurred.

(b) The operator of an OHV involved in an accident resulting in damage to private proprety, except that of the operator, shall notify the owner of said property within 48 hours of the occurrence of such accident.

(c) Accidents resulting only in injury to the operator and/or damage to his personal equipment need not be reported.

(d) The operator of an OHV involved in an accident upon either public or private property, resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop and remain

at the scene of such accident and shall render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance in securing medical aid or transportation for the injured person or persons.

(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to accidents involving competition vehicles damaged while engaging in special or competition events.

§6828. Enforcement

Any peace, police or environmental protection officer, acting in the lawful performance of his duty, shall be empowered to enforce the provisions of this Chapter.

§6829. Registration numbers as prima facie evidence

In a proceeding for a violation of this Chapter involving prohibited operation and conduct, the registration number or numbered decal displayed on an OHV shall constitute prima facie evidence that the owner of the vehicle was the person operating the vehicle at the time of the offense; unless the OHV committing the violation was in fact a stolen vehicle at the time of the violation.

§6830. Unlawful for operators of 0HV's to disobey command to stop

It shall be unlawful for any operator of an OHV to willfully disobey a signal to bring such OHV to a stop when such signal is given by hand, voice, emergency lights, or siren a visual or audible signal by a uniformed police, peace, or environmental protection officer acting in the lawful performance of his duty.

§6831. Penalty

An person convicted of violation of any provision of this Chapter shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $300 or have his OHV impounded for a period

of 30 days or both. Such penalty shall apply unless otherwise provided for in this Chapter.

§6832. Jurisdiction

Justice of the Peace Courts shall have jurisdiction over violations of this Chapter except that Family Court shall have jurisdiction over violations of this Chapter when such violation is committed by any person under the age of 18 years of age.

§6833. Conflicts with other Statutes

Should any provision of this Chapter conflict with other statutes, the provisions or requirements of this Chapter shall apply.

§6834. Rules and regulations

The Secretary of Public Safety may adopt and enforce such rules and regulations concerning off-highway vehicles and designate such agencies as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Chapter, provided such rules and regulations are not contrary to the provisions of this Chapter."

Section 7. It is declared to be legislative intent that OHV trails and/or areas be provided, and such trails and/or areas be provided, and such trails and/or areas, when possible, should be on publicly owned property. Therefore, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is hereby instructed to immediately begin to study the feasibility and suitability of areas under its administration and shall determine and designate trails and/or areas where OHV operation shall be permitted. Such study shall be completed and a report made to the General Assembly by January 1, 1978. All other State agencies, and political subdivisions of the State of Delaware, those districts, boards, and agencies under the State Department of Public Instruction, are hereby instructed to immediately study their facilities and to provide such trails and/or areas as are consistent with their basic purposes and programs.

Section 8. Income accrued from the collection or registration fees under this Chapter is appropriated to the Department (Division of Motor Vehicles) and shall be placed in a special account to be used for expenses incurred in the administration of the provisions of this Chapter. All OHV registration fees collected hereunder which are unexpended or unencumbered at the end of each fiscal year shall revert to the General Fund of the State of Delaware.

Section 9. It is declared to be the legislative intent, that, if any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or provision of this Chapter is held invalid, the remainder of the Chapter shall not be affected thereby.

Section 10. This Act shall become effective on January 1, 1978. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall begin registration of OHV's on July 1, 1977. By April 1, 1978, all OHV's shall comply with the provisions of this Act.

Approved July 14, 1977.