SXS on the Road in NC

NC Street-Legal SXS Effort

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Updated: Monday, September 20th 2021


BROADCAST MESSAGE


SB 241 MODIFIED UTILITY VEHICLES

9-20-2021

Effective October 1, 2021; NCGS 20-4.01 has been amended by changing some specifications to the modified utility vehicle definition that allows these vehicles to be titled and registered in North Carolina.  Please see attached SB241 for specifics.

The modified utility vehicle is motor vehicle that is manufactured OR upfitted by a licensed manufacturer, dealer or person or business otherwise engaged in vehicle manufacturing or modification for off-road use with equipment required by G.S. 20-121.1(2a), and must meet the following statutory requirements:

  • Vehicle is manufactured or upfitted for off-road use
  • Upfitting must be completed by a licensed manufacturer, dealer or person or business otherwise engaged in vehicle manufacturing or modification for off-road use
  • Vehicle must have 4 wheels
  • Length: minimum 110 inches
  • Width: minimum 58 inches
  • Height: minimum 60 inches
  • Max Speed of 40 mph or greater
  • Does not require the operator or passenger to straddle a seat
  • DOES NOT include all-terrain vehicle, golf cart, utility vehicle or lawn mower

The following is required for a customer to title and license a modified utility vehicle in North Carolina.

  • The fee is the same as a fee for a private passenger vehicle
  • The body style will be MU
  • Requires a NC safety inspection prior to titling and registering
  • Requires a Modified Utility Vehicle Affidavit (MVR-59) that will be completed and signed by the licensed manufacturer, dealer, or person or business otherwise engaged in vehicle manufacturing or modification for off-road use.  (See attached.  Also the form will be available on the the NCDOT website)
  • Manufactured assigned vehicle identification numbers (VIN) will be accepted unless it has been altered, incorrectly assigned or missing.  If a VIN is needed, License and Theft will issue a NCU number which is assigned through the same process as other NC VINS.

Additionally, these vehicles are only to be operated on streets and highways where the posted speed limit is 55mph or less; provided, a modified utility vehicle may not be operated on any street or highway having four or more travel lanes unless the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less.

Check out the attachments:

Evolution of the NC SXS Effort

Much has happened since the creation of this webpage and the kick-off of the effort to help North Carolina become the 23rd state to legalize UTVs for road use. Below this section, you’ll see the original post, starting at “It’s Time.

To stay up to date on the North Carolina Street-Legal SXS Effort, please follow Unseen Pass on Instagram, as it’s constantly updated.

Follow Unseen Pass on Instagram to keep up with the legislative effort
Follow Unseen Pass on Instagram to keep up with the street legal sxs utv legislative effort

Unseen Pass’ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrunseenpass/

Instagram Guide

Here’s a dirt link to the Instagram Guide on the Legislative Effort where all the related post have been consolidated into one resource: https://www.instagram.com/mrunseenpass/guide/north-carolinas-street-legal-sxs-effort/17964556183404272/

Again… lol

Blog Posts

Also, here’s the recent blog posts that has been written regarding the NC Street-Legal SXS/UTV effort and Senate Bill 241 (aka the NC Street-Legal SXS Bill):

Again, Instagram has the most up-to-date information.

Onto the original webpage…


It’s Time.

SXS are road legal in some form in many states, but not in North Carolina (NC).

Let’s help NC become the next state to legalize SXS for road use. Sign the petition to voice your support: https://www.change.org/roadlegalizesxs

I recently met with Senator Deanna Ballard. Senator Ballard said that I need to form a broad collocation of support across NC to show that there is a need to road-legalize SXS in order for a new bill to have success and for her to champion a new bill. Here’s our chance!

If you are running out of state tags – I was informed by a meeting with the NC SHP and DMV that NC will also no longer honor South Dakota (SD) Registrations for SXS/UTVs operating in NC no matter what the classification or what expert stand behind them being legal – so please support this effort. I also have an internal briefing from the NC Attorney General’s Office stating as such. If the law is amended, this will be good news for you to keep running your registrations and tags without hassle.

RUNDOWN

Sign the petition to legalize SXS for road use in NC: https://www.change.org/roadlegalizesxs

My name is Kyle Wrightenberry and I’m the owner/operator of Unseen Pass (my story).

I’m spearheading the effort to lobby the North Carolina General Assembly to make SXS/UTVs legalized for road use and become the next state to do so. I’m open to and would appreciate help from fellow SXS/UTV owners in NC.

In case you are unfamiliar with my story, I started Unseen Pass Inc. in June of 2020, which was a street-legal SXS rental company based out of West Jefferson, NC (Ashe County, NC).

Unseen Pass, West Jefferson, NC.

In late August, I was issued two statues by a representative from the DMV basically stating that (1) NC doesn’t honor my South Dakota registered four-wheeled motorcycles as reciprocal vehicles between the two states, pretty much still considering them UTVs vs what the other states classify them as and (2) if I’m to rent them, my renters are subject to incur a $100 rental infraction.

Here are the two statutes:

It was also later brought to my attention by the NCSHP that anyone running an SD, or any other tag on an SXS/UTV, no matter what classification by other states (autocycle, quadracycle, custom vehicle) will be subject to an improper registration ticket. I’ll have you know this is after SXS/UTVs have operated on NC roads like this for over two years without being ticketed that I’m able to find. Check this out (two of many):

So why is this all the sudden happening?

The representative from the DMV said because I have a business, this brought on the scrutiny on the DMV cracking down on SXS running out of state tags in order to make them legal in-state.

After that briefing by the DMV, many officials in the town urged me to rent them if that was all they could get me for. Yes – you heard right – they told me to put them on the road based off those two rental statues, as they are vague and unclear. So, I decided to add an indemnity hold-harmless agreement in my renter’s paperwork as protection for renters if they were ever charged the infraction and ultimately decided to rent my out my SXS for road use.

Two weeks later, I was issued improper registration tickets by a state trooper (NCSHP) and three of my renters were stopped, luckily one was only issued a warning. 

That’s when everything came to a head and I decided to reach out to the SHP to get more clarity. The trooper over the area is super nice and thought it would be a good idea to bring me in and speak with him, his boss, a guy from DMV License and Theft, and the three police chiefs for the towns in Ashe County. These guys wanted me to hear me out and also wanted me to hear them out. They were very nice to me and I have a lot of respect for them for doing this!

I told them how I felt, how I tried to do the right steps, and etc. – along with everything else that’s probably going through your minds right now. You heard that right. The local roundtable of officers in and over Ashe County, NC let me know they really hate the situation and that they wished it wasn’t so, but they are going to have to follow the NC Attorney General’s interpretation and stance on the law (those two statues above). They also stated how they took an oath to uphold and respect the law, which I respect.

Before this meeting took place, from my understanding, a few of them also spoke with the local DA who then spoke with a judge, which further solidified local law enforcement’s stance against me renting my SXS for road legal purposes.

From the way I understood, the DA basically will choose to prosecute me because they don’t want the locals riding their SXS on the road because the government bodies fear of lawsuits and the fact that allowing SXS to ride on the road could cause the SHP to devote additional resources to policing them.

From that meeting, basically, the SHP said NC will also no longer honor South Dakota (SD) Registrations for SXS/UTVs operating in NC. The First Sargent of the NCSHP has made it a priority to inform the other districts in NC know that NC will not honor SD tags as well. This is why we should stick together and get NC to legalize SXS for road use.

Long story short, independent of each other, my attorney and the roundtable encouraged me to lobby to get the law changed to include SXS. I’ve spoken with several attorneys until I found one who was passionate about my situation. He said despite a number of different ways I could structure it to be legal, it won’t stop law enforcement from harassing me.

So, battling the tickets under equal protection under the law and lobbying are the way to go. 

SD & OUT-OF-STATE SXS TAGS

To be clear and not to beat a dead horse, I also spoke at length with my attorney about switching over to a Montana LLC and address, in addition to running Montana registrations on my SXS.

Regarding those advocating for Montana (MT) or South Dakota (SD) tags, registrations, and etc. for out-of-state residents – these tags will (like should) only be honored IF you are just passing through NC. That’s how the law reads according to an expert. If you are one advocating for out-of-state tags, don’t blow a gasket, as there is good news for you, which I’ll get to in a little down below 🙂

Regardless if these tags are legal or not – this doesn’t mean you won’t be harassed by law enforcement OR that they won’t give you a ticket as of Labor Day 2020 if you’re running out of state tags. They very likely will issue your tickets!

My attorney put it to me this way:

“Basically the Montana idea won’t work because the law is if the vehicle is going to be utilized in North Carolina then it must have an NC Registration. You could move them back and forth between here and Montana but it comes down to NCGS 20-50 which states that “A vehicle intended to be operated upon any highway of this State must be registered with the Division.” My reading of that states that if you intend to utilize the vehicle in NC then you have to have it registered here. There is reciprocal registration but only really for vehicles that are passing through. It’s true that many people don’t change over the registration when they move from out of state while they use their vehicles in NC but you are different. They are driving around some Toyota mini van along with a sea of other Toyota minivans. So they aren’t targeted or identified by law enforcement. You are different in that your vehicles are easily recognizable and further you rent them from a storefront. So it will be easy to pull your clients over and ticket them even if you say that the vehicles are Montana vehicles. The renting, marketing, and visible will make it so your plan won’t work.”

NC is also not choosing to honor SXS as reciprocal vehicles, as they still consider them UTVs – not what other states classify them as (i.e. autocycles, quadricycles, mini-trucks, and etc.). It’s my belief and many others that they are wrong by holding this stance.

The good news for those of you promoting MT and SD tags and registrations is that once the law changes in NC, SXS will be reciprocal vehicles and SXS being utilized for road use won’t be singled out and targeted by law enforcement. In the end, this could very well possibly mean more sales for you guys.

THE NEW NC LAW, S.L.2020-40, DOESN’T WORK FOR SXS

For all you guys that think that House Bill 307 / S.L. 2020-40 will work for road legalizing your SXS (RZR 1000, etc.) – it WON’T work! We understand that there are many rumors out there, but it flat out won’t work.

The facts… To be clear – S.L. 2020-40 that came into effect on October 1st doesn’t include SXS. The briefing to the inspectors all over NC received from the DMV, as you guys can see in the picture below, is that this new law is only good for Mahindra Roxors.

DMV Notification to NC Inspectors on Mahindra Roxors

This was no accident, as Mahindra lobbied the NC Legislature to get their Roxors street legal to increase Roxor sales. Mayberry did the same thing in 2016 to get their mini trucks street legal to increase mini truck sales. The law basically says it excludes SXS or mid-sized utility vehicles based on cc.  

Here’s how the law reads.

SECTION 1. G.S. 20‑4.01(27) is amended by adding a new sub‑subdivision to read:”g2. Modified utility vehicle. – A motor vehicle that (i) is manufactured for off‑road use with equipment required by G.S. 20‑121.1(2), except a vehicle identification number, and (ii) has four wheels, an engine displacement greater than 2,400 cubic centimeters, an overall length of 142 inches or greater, an overall width of 58 inches or greater, an overall height of 70 inches or greater, a maximum speed capability of 40 miles per hour or greater, and does not require an operator or passenger to straddle a seat. “Modified utility vehicle” does not include an all‑terrain vehicle, golf cart, or utility vehicle, as defined in this section, or a riding lawn mower.”

S.L.2020-40 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

S.L. 2020-40 is Unconstitutional

As of October 1st, House Bill 307 (S.L.2020-40) changed the NC Motor Vehicle Code to essentially allow for modified utility vehicles under 660 cc and over 2400 cc to operate on the roads if they meet certain requirements or safety criteria.

It discriminates against mid-sized modified utility vehicles that have from 661 cc to 2399 cc; therefore, making the law unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

The law can’t exclude modified utility vehicles from 661 cc to 2399 cc, such as a 1000 cc SXS, if vehicles in this range have the same safety requirements as the vehicles below 660 cc and above 2400 cc. The 14th Amendment allows for equal protection under the law and regulates interstate commerce among many other areas. Corporate interest has been able to manipulate this law to their benefit and it appears NC legislatures haven’t done their due diligence, I’m assuming as of this point in time.

MAHINDRA HAS BEEN SUED

This will be to NC SXS owners favor, as these are the guys that lobbied the NC legislature to have their Roxors street legalized and the new law, S.L.2020-40; this was a result of Mahindra’s effort. This is Mahindra’s bill, essentially. Mahindra is also in hot water, as Jeep sued them for copycatting in July and won  – so this will go in our favor for NC to amend the law as Mahindra is known for breaking the law or pushing the bounds…. It’s a good chance NC legislatures will perceive that they’ve been duped by Mahindra for not bringing to their attention that S.L.2020-40 is unconstitutional and discriminatory. 

You can read more about Jeep v Mahindra here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-11/fiat-chrysler-wins-trade-case-against-mahindra-over-jeep-copy

PLAN OF ACTION

Long story short, independent of each other, my attorney and the roundtable encouraged me to lobby to get the law changed to include SXS/UTVs.

Key Tangibles:

  • Secure a Deanna Ballard as the champion of the new bill (amendment to S.L.2020-40)
  • Rally support across NC primarily via a petition
  • Get several associations (i.e. NC Motorcycle Dealers Association) on board and to support the effort
  • Meet with the remaining NC legislators (House and Senate) and get 10-12 additional sponsors in both the house and senate
  • Get a new bill on the floor by March
  • Influence committee chairs throughout the evolution of the bill to ensure passage into law

This will be no easy task, so your help would be greatly appreciated!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Here’s how you can help:

  • Sign the petition: https://www.change.org/roadlegalizesxs
  • Share the petition with everyone you know and get them to sign it!
  • Provide intros to NC Legislatures (for those who have current relationships)
  • Supply research on what has been done in the 22 states where SXS are legal in some aspect, like details on who spearheaded the efforts and what steps did they take to legalize SXS for road use
  • Find and share crash reports on Mahindra Roxors and Mayberry Mini-Trucks
  • Send helpful information on the economic impact as to what road legalizing SXS will mean for NC
  • Share lobby experience, that is if anyone has actual lobbying experience, or is well-read
  • Share this post and Facebook Group with other SXS owners in NC to help gather additional support!

BENEFITS FOR NC

It will be to NC’s favor to amend this S.L.2020-40 due to the following main reasons:

  1. NC is losing revenue for out of state SXS rentals and tourism to Tennessee (TN), West Virginia (WV), and the other 20 states where they are legal. 
  2. NC could be generating more taxes if they allowed SXS to be tagged and registered for road use in the state
  3. The current law, S.L.2020-40, is unconstitutional

I’m convicted that the pros outweigh the cons for NC to legalize SXS and I won’t take the time to list them all out in this post; these will be listed out in the presentation I developed for the legislatures. 

For heavens sake, look at the UTV rental places in Gatlinburg, TN:

Google search: Gatlinburg TN UTV Rentals

This could be Asheville, Boone, West Jefferson, and the list goes on…

If UTVs were really that dangerous, there wouldn’t be so many rental places in Gatlinburg, TN nor would 22 states have already legalized them for road use.

Text Mods to S.L.2020-40

Here’s how the current law reads: https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/SessionLaws/HTML/2019-2020/SL2020-40.html

SECTION 1. G.S. 20‑4.01(27) is amended by adding a new sub‑subdivision to read:”g2. Modified utility vehicle. – A motor vehicle that (i) is manufactured for off‑road use with equipment required by G.S. 20‑121.1(2), except a vehicle identification number, and (ii) has four wheels, an engine displacement greater than 2,400 cubic centimeters, an overall length of 142 inches or greater, an overall width of 58 inches or greater, an overall height of 70 inches or greater, a maximum speed capability of 40 miles per hour or greater, and does not require an operator or passenger to straddle a seat. “Modified utility vehicle” does not include an all‑terrain vehicle, golf cart, or utility vehicle, as defined in this section, or a riding lawn mower.”

As far as the text mods to the current law, here’s what I have this far (my changes in red):

SECTION 1. G.S. 20‑4.01(27) “g2.      Modified utility vehicle. – A motor vehicle that (i) is manufactured for off‑road use with equipment required by G.S. 20‑121.1(2), except a parking brake and a vehicle identification number, and (ii) has four wheels, an engine displacement greater than 500 cubic centimeters, an overall length of 110 inches or greater, an overall width of 55 inches or greater, an overall height of 50 inches or greater, a maximum speed capability of 40 miles per hour or greater, and does not require an operator or passenger to straddle a seat. “Modified utility vehicle” does not include a golf cart, or utility vehicle, as defined in this section, or a riding lawn mower.”

This legislation is also tied to GS_20-121.1 which sets the safety standards for these vehicles. The only thing I think that needs to be changed is making an exception to the parking brake, which doesn’t make sense for SXS with “park” to have a parking brake. Here’s the link to the current safety requirements” https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_20/GS_20-121.1.pdf

If NC amends the bill with these current changes, then our SXS will be able to be road legal. If any of you think it should read differently, I’m welcome to your feedback. Please email me at kyle [at] unseenpass [dot] com. I have to spell it out like this in order to not be spammed lol.

LOVE YOUR HELP

Let’s get SXS back on the road in NC!

Street Legal SXS at gas station in Ashe County, NC

I’m looking forward to working with everyone and getting the law change to accommodate SXS in NC! Please like and share this post. Also, if you’d like to offer additional support, please let me know.

Cheers,

Kyle

P.S. For those who have SXS in NC and are interested in discussing this movement, please join NC SXS Group and the national Street Legal SXS’s Group which are dedicated to the cause.

865-325-1353

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865-325-1353

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