A Guide to Texas Laws on Nontraditional Vehicles

A Guide to Texas Laws on Nontraditional Vehicles

When picking out the best coastal town or campground to visit in Texas, you likely have an idea of the right vehicles to drive on the roads, along trails, and even by the beach. However, before investing in a nontraditional vehicle such as a golf cart, you need to learn about the Texas laws on nontraditional vehicles.

What Are Nontraditional Vehicles?

A nontraditional vehicle refers to anything that you can drive off-road. When driving any unique type of vehicle, you may need a particular license type to operate it along residential roads, on trails, or at campgrounds.

The most common off-road vehicles include ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), UTVs (utility vehicles) and sandrails. Off-roading vehicles are treats to have for any outdoor adventure, but drivers can’t register to drive on normal public roads with them. Despite this, many off-roading vehicles still need to meet specific requirements. For example, any vehicle type must have these specifications:

  • Brake system
  • Muffler system
  • Headlights and taillights

The vehicle can have an off-highway license plate as long as you drive it only in these conditions:

  • On private residential roads, with county- or city-approved plates
  • During daylight hours around approved areas with speed markers
  • In intersections as long as speeds remain under 35 miles per hour

Specific Nontraditional Vehicles

Golf Carts

Manufacturers made golf carts specifically for golf courses; however, many communities use the vehicles for many other things outside of the course, such as getting around islands and driving off-road. Golf carts aren’t required to be registered, so they can receive license plates. However, if you want to drive a golf cart on the street, you’ll need certain accessories to make it street legal. In many cases, a golf cart can only become street legal if it has these items:

  • Taillights
  • Reflectors
  • Brakes
  • Mirrors
  • Headlights

The county or city in which you reside or visit may have strict laws on far you can travel with your golf cart, often requiring that you to travel up to only 2 miles away.

Neighborhood Electric Vehicles

An electric vehicle has the same rules as a golf cart or other off-roading vehicle. However, for you to drive it through neighborhoods, it must have a speed limit of only 35 miles per hour. Additionally, it must have these items:

  • A windshield
  • Mirrors
  • Reflectors
  • A VIN (vehicle identification number)

Since these vehicles can be registered and given a title, you need to ensure that you provide proof of ownership, proof of insurance, and an application for the Texas title.

Many states have restrictive laws on the usage of unique vehicles. However, people seeking a guide to Texas laws on nontraditional cars now have a way of knowing what to expect when registering their golf carts or other unique vehicles.

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