Utah only requires a small decal for off-road vehicles. Because of this, the state received a "C" grade from Responsible Trails America (RTA).
In its second annual study of visible identification requirements released Tuesday, RTA found that while registration programs are common across the country, only 12 states require large, visible identification for off-road vehicles such as license plates. Those 12 states that require larger tags are trying to tackle one of the biggest challenges to managing off-road use: identifying illegal riders.
"We think a uniform standard â¦ would greatly help law enforcement to identify and catch illegal riders while making it easier for responsible riders to comply with registration requirements," Shannon Raborn, director of RTA, said in a news release.
In Utah, off-road vehicles must be registered with the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles for use on public lands, roads or trails.
Utah earned the "C" grade because the decal that motorists are required to display measures only 3 inches by 3 inches. Registration must be renewed yearly at the end of the month in which a person registered.
Utah's registration system has been in effect for more than a decade, said Charlie Roberts, Utah Division of Motor Vehicles spokesman. He added the state is unconcerned about earning an average grade because 22 other states also received a "C."
Utah's system "seems to meet the demand of the public," Roberts said Thursday. "There has been limited public interest in making a change."
Wisconsin recently joined the list of states requiring a license plate-like identification to combat illegal riders in what Randy Harden, president of the Wisconsin All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) Association, said is becoming necessary.
"Their [license plates'] purpose is to also assist in 'peer reporting,' " Harden said in the release. "For the law-abiding, rule-following ATV riders, this is a small price to pay because of a few who constantly ruin it for everyone by choosing to ride illegally and inappropriately."
Based on the growing problem of illegal riding, RTA recommends a system of documentation similar to what the U.S. Coast Guard has used for boats as a model. Also, the off-road vehicle industry should standardize a location on the vehicle for mounting plates or decals, RTA said.