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Arizona Laws Regarding Recreational Vehicle Use

Arizona enacted numerous laws affecting drivers and passengers of any type of utility terrain vehicle(UTV).  This article does not discuss all of said laws, but will briefly discuss a few select laws you ought to know.

For starters, all drivers and passengers under 18 years old must wear a safety helmet approved by the Department of Transportation. A word to the wise: this past Summer I learned by sad experience that even if you have the best intentions by putting a bicycle helmet on a young child and put them into a child safety seat that is strapped into a 5-point harness, the Arizona Fish and Game Department (which heavily patrols the trails in the the White Mountains over the holidays) will give you a citation.  

State laws also require UTV/ATV owners to have the proper safety equipment in place, including the following:

  • Minimum of one brake that the driver can operate with a hand or foot
  • Minimum of one but not more than two headlights that illuminate the road ahead by at least 500 feet
  • A horn that others can hear from at least 200 feet away
  • A rearview mirror
  • Minimum of one tail light that is visible for at least 500 feet
  • Muffler in good working order

Arizona also requires UTV drivers to remain on roads, trails, or paths designated by the state’s land management agency for recreational vehicle use. 

No one may drive a UTV with deliberate recklessness, and UTV drivers must obey all traffic laws when crossing maintained streets.

On a somewhat frustrating note: while riding in the White Mountains this past Summer, I had my grandson on the back of my ATV on a trail.  The ATV is designed as a two-seat vehicle.  My grandson was wearing a proper helmet.  As we came around a corner, a Fish and Game Deputy turned on her flashing lights.  We stopped and she said, “Oh, this machine IS a two-seater.  He IS wearing a proper helmet.”  She stopped us thinking I was violating the law.  The rest of our group who were following me in UTV’s also stopped because I stopped.  The deputy looked at all of the vehicles and the only she found wrong (and she was really scrutinizing us) was that one of my grandchildren in the child safety seat and buckled into a 5-point harness was wearing a bicycle helmet.  Now we know.

Insurance Companies Use Any Opportunity to Deny or Limit Payment of Personal Injury Claims

You may be the driver who accidentally causes someone to suffer injuries, or you may be the person injured in a UTV accident.  When a person suffers serious injuries due to the operation of a UTV, they have two years from the date of the accident within which to settle the claim with the insurance carrier.  If the claim is not settled within two years, the injured person must file a lawsuit in order to preserve the claim.  

You should expect the insurance company representing the UTV driver (who is often a friend or relative) to refuse to pay the full value of the claim (if they pay at all).  In fact, most insurance carriers will look for provisions within the policy to deny coverage – often exposing the assets of the UTV owner and driver.  Our firm is not in the business of going after the personal assets of the owners/drivers.  Rather, we are in the business of holding insurance companies accountable to pay what they are obligated by law to pay.

We know the games and tactics used by insurance companies to low ball or deny claims.  We fight and win those battles regularly.  At East Valley Injury Law, we are not intimidated by the insurance industry.  In fact, we love taking on bullies.  You can depend on our experienced team of personal injury attorneys to fight for every penny you deserve. If we cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company, we will take the case to court. We invite you to contact our law firm at the Arizona location closest to you.


Matt Riggs

Matt Riggs has practiced as an attorney in Arizona for 27 years and focuses on personal injury and medical negligence cases.