South Carolina all-terrain vehicle law

A bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding chapter 26 to 50 so as to enact "Chandlers Law" so as to provide for regulation of the operation of all-terrain vehicles including minimum age requirements for the operation of all-terrain vehicles, safety course completion requirements, safety equipment requirements, and passenger riding requirements, to provide for the enforcement of the provisions contained in this chapter, to provide that all-terrain vehicles are exempt from ad valorem taxes, and to provide penalties for certain violations; and by adding article 9 to chapter 56 so as to provide a procedure for the titling of all-terrain vehicles.

Amend Title To Conform

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

Section 1

Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding

CHAPTER 26 - All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Act

Section 50-26-10

This chapter may be cited as ‘Chandler’s Law’.

Section 50-26-20

For the purposes of this chapter, ‘all-terrain vehicle’ or ‘ATV’ means a motorized vehicle designed primarily for off-road travel on low-pressure tires which has three or more wheels and handle bars for steering, but does not include lawn tractors, battery-powered children’s toys, or a vehicle that is required to be licensed or titled for highway use. The term ‘ATV’ includes Type I-single passenger all-terrain vehicles and Type II-tandem passenger all-terrain vehicles.

Section 50-26-30

  1. It is unlawful for a parent or legal guardian of a person less than 6 years of age to knowingly permit that person to operate an ATV.
  2. It is unlawful for a parent or legal guardian of a person without a motor vehicle driver’s license and less than 16 years of age to knowingly allow that person to carry a passenger while operating an ATV.
  3. As used in this section, ‘ANSI/SVIA’ means American National Standards Institute/Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, and ‘FMVSS’ means Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
  4. It is unlawful to remove from an ATV the manufacturer Age Restriction Warning Label required by ANSI/SVIA.
  5. It is unlawful for a parent or legal guardian of a person less than 16 years of age to knowingly allow that person to operate an ATV in violation of the Age Restriction Warning Label affixed by the manufacturer as required by standard ANSI/SVIA 1-2007.
  6. Effective July 1, 2011, every person 15 years old and younger who operates an all-terrain vehicle must possess a safety certificate indicating successful completion of ‘hands-on’ all-terrain vehicle safety course approved by the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute.
  7. A person 15 years of age or younger also may not operate, ride, or otherwise be propelled on an all-terrain vehicle within this State unless the person wears a safety helmet meeting standard FMVSS #218 and eye protection.
  8. A law enforcement officer enforcing the provisions of this section in regard to private lands must have probable cause, based on a plain view observation or incident to an investigation resulting from an all-terrain vehicle accident, to believe a violation of this section occurred before he may enter upon private land to charge a violation of this section.

Section 50-26-40

  1. The restrictions in this section apply to operation of all-terrain vehicles on those lands open to the public and are in addition to the requirements of Section 50-26-30.
  2. It is unlawful to operate an all-terrain vehicle except in compliance with the local regulations and restrictions for all-terrain vehicle operation.
  3. A person 16 years of age or younger who operates an all-terrain vehicle must be accompanied by an adult.
  4. It is unlawful to operate an all-terrain vehicle between a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise, unless it is operated with headlights turned on.
  5. It is unlawful to cross any watercourse on an all-terrain vehicle except at a designated ford, crossing, bridge, or if the watercourse is bisected by a trail.
  6. An all-terrain vehicle must have an effective muffler system in good working condition, a USDA Forest Service approved spark arrester in good working condition, and a brake system in good operating condition.
  7. It is unlawful to operate an all-terrain vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.
  8. It is unlawful to operate an all-terrain vehicle in a reckless manner.
  9. Nothing contained in this chapter prevents the operation of an all-terrain vehicle on a beach, or between the breakers and the shoreline of the beach, if the all-terrain vehicle is operated in a manner approved by the entity that owns or controls the area.

Section 50-26-50

All-terrain vehicles are exempt from ad valorem personal property taxes beginning with calendar year 2011.

Section 50-26-60

A person violating this chapter, unless otherwise specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined no less than $50 nor more than $200.

Section 50-26-70

This chapter does not apply to:

  1. an owner, operator, lessor, or renter of a farm or ranch, or that person’s employees, immediate family, or household members, when operating an all-terrain vehicle while engaged in farming, wildlife habitat management, or ranching operations;
  2. a person using an all-terrain vehicle for hunting or trapping purposes if the person otherwise is lawfully engaged in those activities; or (3) a minor younger than 16 years of age, but no younger than 6 years of age, who is operating an all-terrain vehicle under the direct visual supervision of his/her parent or an individual with legal custody of the minor on private property.

Section 2

Chapter 19, Title 56 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

Article 9. Titling of All-Terrain Vehicles

Section 56-19-1010

An owner of an ATV may apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a title for the vehicle accompanied by the required fee and upon the appropriate form prescribed and furnished by the department. The application must be accompanied by a manufacturer’s certificate of origin or previous title properly assigned to the applicant.

Section 56-19-1020

When a person who is not a licensed ATV dealer receives by purchase, gift, trade, or by another means a vehicle that was titled in this State, the person who receives the vehicle may make application to the department for a title. The application must be accompanied by the required documents and fee for the title. The department shall issue a certificate of title once it has received a properly completed application. An owner of an ATV, before the effective date of this article, who cannot provide proof of ownership, may request an affidavit from the sheriff in the county in which he/she resides. The affidavit shall state that the sheriff finds the person making application for the title is the legal owner of the ATV. Before issuing the affidavit, the sheriff must verify through the National Crime Information Center that the ATV is not stolen. The department shall issue a title application to the owner upon presentation of the affidavit, application and fee.

Section 56-19-1030

The title fee for an ATV is contained in Section 56-19-420(A). For purposes of this article, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is defined as provided in Section 50-26-20.

Section 3

This act takes effect July 1, 2011.


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