Street Legal Buggy Laws in Missouri

By Brian Heuberger
Dune buggies can become street legal if they meet certain requirements.

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Dune buggies are relatively small all-terrain vehicles that can maneuver well on most forms of land, and driving the buggies can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. Buggies are usually capable of driving on regular roads, but driving with fast-moving traffic can be quite dangerous. To protect the buggy drivers and the automobile drivers on the road, Missouri has established laws that all dune buggies must fulfill to become street legal.

The Law

All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are classified as vehicles with three to four wheels that are capable of driving off-road, that are 1,000 pounds or less and 50 inches or less in width, and that rely on handlebars for steering, according to Chapter 300, Section 300.348 of the Missouri Regulations code book. Thus, many dune buggies qualify as all-terrain vehicles in Missouri. The code also provides provisions that might enable buggy drivers and other ATV drivers to become officially street legal so they can drive their vehicles on streets and highways.

Equipment

To become street legal, buggy owners must ensure that their vehicles have all the necessary equipment required by the Missouri code book. All ATVs must be equipped with a headlamp and tail lamp, and the lamps must be lit whenever the vehicle is being driven on a street or highway. The buggies must also have a triangular emblem lit on the rear of the vehicle whenever driving on roadways. The emblem must be at least 10 inches on each side, must be constructed with a yellow-orange florescent finish and must have a red, reflective border at least 1 inch thick. Furthermore, the buggy must be equipped with a brake system that operates correctly, a muffler system that is in good condition and a 7-foot-tall bicycle flag on the rear of the vehicle. If the buggy contains a windshield, it must also have windshield wipers.

Registration

To drive buggies on the streets and highways, the owners must have a valid driver's license and must then register the buggy with their local Department of Revenue. Like automobile drivers, an individual must be at least 16 years old to register an ATV and apply for registration. To register the vehicle, the owner must complete all the required application forms at the Department of Revenue, provide a detailed and thorough description of the buggy and pay a registration fee. The department usually then issues a form to the owner with a registration number and expiration date, and the ATV owner must place this form on the right front frame of the vehicle so it is clearly visible.

Roadways

If the owner has registered his buggy and the vehicle has all of the required equipment, he can drive the buggy on the roadways in Missouri. However, the code states that ATVs are prohibited from driving faster than 30 mph on streets or highways, which is why the buggies must have a tall flag on the rear ends of their vehicles to alert others on the road that the vehicle is a buggy. A violation of any of the Missouri ATV regulations can result in a Class C misdemeanor for the drivers or owners of the buggy.

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