Off-Highway Vehicles Now Require License Plates

Belton, TX – Taking a joyride in a golf cart or off-highway vehicle could soon earn Bell County drivers citations. This comes as the result of state-wide legislation, which has recently taken effect.

House Bill 1548, from the 86th Legislative Session, allows the operation of off-highway vehicles on certain public roadways when they display an Off-Highway Vehicle license plate. This includes all-terrain vehicles (ATV), recreational off-highway vehicles (ROV), utility vehicles (UTV) and sand rails. The law also requires golf carts that are operated on public roads to display a Golf Cart license plate even when their operation is limited to an area such as a master planned community.

The bill was passed in March of 2019 and was set to become official in September of that year, but complications with shipping and the pandemic kept it from being enforced.

“It took another 6 months before we had the license plates in stock,” Bell County Tax Assessor-Collector Shay Luedeke said. “We received our stock of license plates in early March of 2020, just before COVID.”

In response to the pandemic and resulting shutdown, Governor Greg Abbott issued a waiver for vehicle titles and registrations.

“The waiver made off-highway vehicle license plates a moot point, since law enforcement could not write tickets for failing to have current registrations,” Luedeke said. “That waiver has since lapsed, and we are back to pre-COVID operations, so we can continue processing the off-highway plates per Texas Law.”

Plates for off-highway vehicles and golf carts are available at the Bell County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office. Unlike most other vehicle types, off-highway vehicles and golf carts are not subject to vehicle inspection requirements, and liability insurance is not verified when applying for plates.

“We are here to help owners of off-highway vehicles and golf carts and make the process of obtaining plates as simple as possible,” Luedeke said. “Once we issue your plate, it will be valid for as long as you own the vehicle.”

The fee for Off-Highway Vehicle and Golf Cart plates is $10, plus $4.75 in processing and handling fees. Off-Highway Vehicle and Golf Cart plates are not subject to annual renewal and are not transferrable. For more information on the requirements for these vehicles, visit www.txdmv.gov/motorists/buying-or-selling-a-vehicle/unique-vehicles.