A Look at North Carolina ATV Laws

Author: Auger Law | March 16th, 2016

A Review of North Carolina's ATV Laws

ATVs, or all-terrain vehicles, are popular in North Carolina. People use ATVs for recreation, sport and even work. If you own one of these machines, it is important that you are familiar with the laws surrounding them to keep yourself both safe and out of trouble with the law. Here is a general explanation of ATV laws in the state.

Age Restrictions

According to NC ATV age laws, Children under the age of eight years old are not permitted to operate an ATV. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 are not permitted to operate an ATV with an engine larger than 70 cubic centimeters. Larger ATVs are permissible for children between the ages of 12 and 16, but the engine must still be smaller than 90 cubic centimeters.

While children are permitted to operate these vehicles, they must do so under constant supervision. Any child under the age of 16 must be supervised by someone 18 or over.


Carrying a passenger is a great time. That said, you are legally not allowed to ride with a passenger if your ATV was not built to do so. Do not ride with someone on the handlebars, in front of you on the seat or otherwise on the ATV if it is not designed for two people.


The ATV that you drive must have a working brake system. It must also have a muffler system that is in proper working condition. Be sure that your vehicle is equipped with a spark arrester that is working properly. This is a requirement of the United States Forest Service.

Prohibited Acts

According to NC ATV laws, you may not:

  • Operate your ATV on a public street without eye protection and a helmet;
  • Allow someone to operate your vehicle on a public street without eye protection and a helmet;
  • Drive recklessly;
  • Drive on the interstate or a highway; or
  • Drive after sunset or before sunrise or any other time visibility is significantly reduced.

Additionally, if you were born after 1990, you are required to have passed a safety training class and possess a certificate of completion. Should you violate any of these laws, you may be subject to a fine of not more than $200.

If you are involved in an ATV accident in North Carolina, call our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of your options. Call now.


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