How old do you have to be to drive in California??
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) grants a provisional driving permit to 15 ½-year-olds who meet certain guidelines.
But children as young as 6 can drive some vehicles in California—motor vehicles classified as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
What kind of cars can kids drive?
While most people wouldn’t call ATV’s cars (although car accident lawyers might), ATVs are motor vehicles defined in California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 111 as off-highway vehicles having the following characteristics:
- No more than fifty inches wide.
- No more than nine hundred pounds.
- Suspended on three or more low-pressure tires.
- Has a single seat designed to be straddled by the operator, or a single seat designed to be straddled by the operator and a seat for no more than one passenger.
- Has handlebars for steering control.
What are the rules for children who want to drive all-terrain vehicles?
California law does not set a minimum age for driving or riding on ATVs. Special provisions do, however, apply to all ATV operators under the age of 18.
ATV operators ages 16-18 must be taking or have taken an ATV safety course or must be riding with (and supervised by) an adult who has a safety course certificate. (CVC Section 38503).
ATV operators younger than age 14 must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian, or an adult the parent or guardian has agreed can supervise the young rider. The child must be taking or have completed a safety course, which is offered for children as young as 6 years old. The supervising adult must have satisfactorily completed an ATV safety course (CVC Section 38503 and 38504).
What kind of all-terrain vehicles are appropriate for children to drive?
Most ATVs are designed for adults. National health and safety organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, recommend that no one under the age of 16 ride or drive an ATV. Regardless of state laws, these organizations say that the size, weight and power of adult ATVs make them difficult for children to control and increase the risk that children will be crushed if the ATV rolls over.
ATV models do exist specifically for children and youth; they are smaller, lighter and less powerful, making them easier for small bodies to control. If children are going to ride ATVs, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following motor sizes for young riders:
- Age 6 and older: Under 70cc
- Age 12 and older: 70cc – 90cc
- Age 16 and older: Over 90cc
Safety tips for avoiding the need for an ATV/car accident lawyer:
Make sure the ATV is the appropriate size and strength for the driver (do not allow children to ride or drive adult ATVs).
- Don’t carry passengers on ATVs made for one person.
- Never place more people or gear on an ATV than the vehicle was designed to hold.
- Always wear a helmet (CVC Section 38505 requires helmets to be worn by all drivers and passengers on ATVs on public lands.)
- Always wear protective gear when riding, including eye protection, boots, gloves, and long pants and sleeves.
- Wear a seatbelt or shoulder harness when possible and appropriate.
- Never mix driving or riding an ATV with using alcohol or drugs.
- Obey all speed limits and maintain safe speeds and distances for the terrain and weather.
- Never ride on paved roads.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motor vehicle wreck, get the help that you need from the car accident lawyers at Cerritos Legal. Call today at 562-865-9356 for your free consultation.