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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XVIII
PUBLIC LANDS AND PROPERTY
Chapter 261
OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE SAFETY AND RECREATION
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F.S. 261.20
261.20 Operations of off-highway vehicles on public lands; restrictions; safety courses; required equipment; prohibited acts; penalties.
(1) This section applies only to the operation of off-highway vehicles on public lands.
(2) Any person operating an off-highway vehicle as permitted in this section who has not attained 16 years of age must be supervised by an adult while operating the off-highway vehicle.
(3) Effective July 1, 2008, while operating an off-highway vehicle, a person who has not attained 16 years of age must have in his or her possession a certificate evidencing the satisfactory completion of an approved off-highway vehicle safety course in this state or another jurisdiction. A nonresident who has not attained 16 years of age and who is in this state temporarily for a period not to exceed 30 days is exempt from this subsection. Nothing contained in this chapter shall prohibit an agency from requiring additional safety-education courses for all operators.
(4)(a) The department shall approve all off-highway vehicle public safety-education programs required by this chapter as a condition for operating on public lands.
(b) An off-highway vehicle must be equipped with a spark arrester that is approved by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, a braking system, and a muffler, all in operating condition.
(c) On and after July 1, 2008, off-highway vehicles, when operating pursuant to this chapter, shall be equipped with a silencer or other device which limits sound emissions. Exhaust noise must not exceed 96 decibels in the A-weighting scale for vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1986, or 99 decibels in the A-weighting scale for vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1986, when measured from a distance of 20 inches using test procedures established by the Society of Automotive Engineers under Standard J-1287. Off-highway vehicle manufacturers or their agents prior to the sale to the general public in this state of any new off-highway vehicle model manufactured after January 1, 2008, shall provide to the department revolutions-per-minute data needed to conduct the J-1287 test, where applicable.
(d) An off-highway vehicle that is operated between sunset and sunrise, or when visibility is reduced because of rain, smoke, or smog, must display a lighted headlamp and taillamp unless the use of such lights is prohibited by other laws, such as a prohibition on the use of lights when hunting at night.
(e) An off-highway vehicle that is used in certain organized and sanctioned competitive events being held on a closed course may be exempted by departmental rule from any equipment requirement in this subsection.
(5) It is a violation of this section:
(a) To carry more passengers on an off-highway vehicle than the machine is specifically designed by the manufacturer to carry.
(b) To operate an off-highway vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any prescription or over-the-counter drug that impairs vision or motor condition.
(c) For a person who has not attained 16 years of age, to operate an off-highway vehicle without wearing eye protection, over-the-ankle boots, and a safety helmet that is approved by the United States Department of Transportation or Snell Memorial Foundation.
(d) To operate an off-highway vehicle in a careless or reckless manner that endangers or causes injury or damage to another person or property.
(6) Any person who violates this section commits a noncriminal infraction and is subject to a fine of not less than $100 and may have his or her privilege to operate an off-highway vehicle on public lands revoked. However, a person who commits such acts with intent to defraud, or who commits a second or subsequent violation, is subject to a fine of not less than $500 and may have his or her privilege to operate an off-highway vehicle on public lands revoked.
(7) Public land managing agencies, through the course of their management activities, are exempt from the provisions of paragraph (5)(a).
History.s. 4, ch. 2006-290; s. 2, ch. 2014-187.