Much debate has been offered for Nevada’s Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Registration law that went into effect July 2012. The law requires all OHV owners to register and have title to their vehicle. Some believe the law is another way for the government to collect taxes and fees. Others see it as a way to contribute back to the OHV community.
Who is the NCOHV?
Nevada’s Commission on Off-Highway Vehicles (NCOHV) was formed with 11 voting members who were appointed by the Governor, as well as nine non-voting members. The commission’s responsibilities consist of reviewing applications for potential grants and award funds from the Fund for Off-Highway Vehicles. It is also responsible for monitoring and accounting activities within the fund for trail improvements, mapping, education and other projects. The commission also helps promote safe and responsible off-road recreation.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee was appointed by the Governor to be on the commission and represents the Nevada Sheriff’s and Chief’s Association.
Sheriff Lee said the commission is “made of people all over the state, all with a different aspect on OHV use. You have law enforcement people, dealers, users and different groups.”
The law requires that all OHVs be registered with a title in the state of Nevada. This includes all OHVs greater than 70cc, 1976 and newer.
“Starting July 1, we’ll really be cracking down,” said Lee.
What types of vehicles are classified “OHV?”
Off-Highway Vehicles apply to motorized bikes, dune buggies, four-wheelers and snowmobiles. It also includes the ever-growing side-by-side type vehicles such as Rhinos, RZRs and Polaris models or any other motorized type of vehicle used for recreation.
In order to register the OHV, a title is needed. For older OHVs that might have been bought or traded between family and friends, without any title, a VIN inspection is required. Sheriff Lee said the Sheriff’s Department will do the vehicle inspection for free. For OHVs bought from a dealer, the dealer will offer a VIN for a fee of $2.
“We ask if they are out of town to call us so we can try and meet in the middle,” said Lee, “but we went to a ranch for someone who had 20 inspections at once. We didn’t mind that.”
Once the vehicle has been inspected, you can apply for registration but not to the local Department of Motor Vehicles. All registration is being done by mail or online. “A lot of people think you have to go there to pay, but you don’t. Everything is going through the mail,” said Lee.
To register your OHV, the fee is minimal. Sheriff Lee said, “It’s the lowest possible fee we could have in place set by the statutes.” The cost is $20. Cost for your initial registration will be more due to the titling of the OHV, but renewals will remain $20 per year.
“What people really need to know here is that 85-percent of the monies go back to ATV users in the way of grants,” Lee said. Specifically, five percent for NCOHV administration, 60 percent for trails, 20 percent for law enforcement and 15 percent for public education.
Although the law went into effect in 2012, ATV and OHV owners were given until July 2013 to obtain registration and a sticker for their OHV. In 2013, the Sheriff’s Department reported only one percent of the OHV population had registered.
Currently, that number has risen to between 20,000 and 30,000 registrations.
Why the need for OHV registration?
While some speculate the initial implementation was for Nevada to recapture some lost sales taxes on OHV and ATV purchases, the growing trend and popularity of the outdoor recreationalist has exploded and drives a large force for revenue in the state and is an ideal economic boost for Lincoln County territory. “It’s so huge now, there’s no way to manage it,” Lee said. Nevada joins with many of the other western states to try and enforce the registration law. “It’s a lot of the states that have lots of public lands areas,” said Lee.
One of the program’s biggest benefits will be the tracking and recovery of stolen or lost OHVs. “Several have been stolen over the years, and without paperwork, a person can take the vehicle over state lines and register it like it was theirs,” Lee said. One OHV has already been recovered from Arizona because of the registration program.
There has been a push to close trails on BLM managed land, and with more than 10,000 acres of land to manage, it’s easy to understand why. Sheriff Lee says, “We want to be able to keep the trails open,” adding the sticker registration compliance is a way to have money funded to the trails to keep them open to the public.
There is an untapped resource of OHV dollars that Lincoln County has potential to make profit from. Compared to states that have implemented trails and marketing to the outdoor enthusiasts, the Silver State OHV Trails remain untouched. “We’re not capitalizing on that like we should,” Lee said.
The registration fees are seen as a way to promote the use of the OHV trails, as well as the education and safety of the activity.
When riding, keep state laws in mind. Along with the Sheriff’s department conducting patrols, the Division of Wildlife, game wardens and state park rangers will all be doing their duties with random inspections. Obeying regular OHV laws and regulations will help reduce your chances for getting stopped.
All OHV users are required to be wearing helmets on public roads. “If you’re on an ATV without a helmet, it’s an automatic stop,” said Lee. He also encourages OHV drivers to make sure their stickers are visible when riding. Lee reminds all riders that while on a city street or county road, you must abide by street ordinances, which include helmets. Reducing your chances of getting caught will reduce your chances of getting fined.
Along with the OHV registration laws, new opportunities open up for mini-trucks and some side-by-sides. Insurance is not required for your OHVs to be registered, which extends also to mini-trucks and side-by-sides, when they are intended for off-roading purposes only. However, with the new registration law, if your vehicle carries liability-only insurance, your side-by-sides and mini trucks can be registered to operate on highways, so long as other standards such as mirrors and blinkers are met.
Sheriff Lee said there are benefits to the registration program. For daily or regular OHV users, the registration process is designed to be as simple as possible. “If it’s not simple, people won’t use it,” said Lee. For non-OHV users, Lee said, “I want them to know it’s not a free-for-all. With vehicles having tags that can be identified, it will help with calls coming in and to enforce the laws better.”
The money from registered owners will be cycled back and fund trail signs, safety, education and promotion. Increased signage on trails helps with Search and Rescue, as well as accidents that might occur off road, to help identify clearly and quickly for medical assistance. Education on using vehicles safely will help reduce the number of OHV accidents.
Where can I go for more OHV information?
The Nevada Commission of Off-Highway Vehicles has a website providing answers to frequently asked questions, forms to fill out for registration, rules and regulations, information on upcoming meetings and grant opportunities and, most importantly, instructions on how to complete your OHV registration. The website is www.nvohv.com. Information regarding the commission and the laws they make can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes, chapter 490.