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Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > South Carolina Off-Road Vehicle Laws And Safety Tips

South Carolina Off-Road Vehicle Laws And Safety Tips


If you are looking for adventure on South Carolina’s highways, city streets, and rural roads, your best bet is a motorcycle.  For an even more rugged riding experience, though, you have several other options.  Off-road vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility task vehicles (UTVs) offer fun and thrills on unpaved roads and wide-open fields.  These vehicles can handle much more rugged terrain than a car, truck, or motorcycle.  They also offer limited protection to riders in the event of a collision.  Furthermore, South Carolina laws allow for riskier behavior with off-road vehicles than they do with vehicles that are legal to ride in traffic.  If you have been injured in an accident involving an off-road vehicle, all the details matter when it comes to getting adequate compensation for your accident-related losses.  To find out more, contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer.

Adventure on Wheels: ATVs and UTVs in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the laws regarding ATVs and UTVs are similar.  You can register them as off-road vehicles, and you cannot drive them on public roads.  Both types of vehicles have four wheels, but UTVs more closely resemble a truck, because they have a steering wheel, brake pedal, and accelerator, just like you would find on vehicles that you drive in traffic.  They also have seatbelts for each passenger, and the configuration of seats is more like you would find in a car.

By contrast, ATVs look more like a motorcycle, except with four wheels.  They have handlebars like a motorcycle, and additional passengers ride behind the driver.

Be More Cautious Than the Law Requires When Riding Off-Road Vehicles

Children as young as six can ride ATVs and UTVs in South Carolina, but all riders under the age of 16 must wear helmets and eye protection.  It is against the law to cross waterways in an off-road vehicle.

Meanwhile, there are enough loopholes in the law to allow for risky use of off-road vehicles.  For example, the rules about helmets and riding through water do not apply when you are using the vehicle for purposes of hunting or farm work.  Likewise, children who are riding on an off-road vehicle with their parents are exempt from the helmet requirement.

Several hundred people, including children, die in off-road vehicle accidents each year in South Carolina.  If you sue for damages after an off-road vehicle accident, premises liability laws only sometimes protect you.  If the accident happened at an ATV park where you paid admission, then premises liability laws apply.  If the accident happened on land that people habitually use for recreation without paying, such as if you were hunting on someone else’s private property, the property owner is protected from premises liability by recreational land use immunity.

Let Us Help You Today

The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you if you have been injured while riding an off-road vehicle such as an ATV or UTV.  Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.




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