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As of July 1, 2022, ATV and UTV enthusiasts throughout Iowa will benefit from a streamlined approach to the state’s all-terrain and utility terrain vehicle laws. This includes plans for an all-terrain vehicle park and provides uniform guidelines across its extensive territory that encompasses 99 counties. By standardizing regulations at the state level, riders can now concentrate more on their adventure rather than navigating through varied local laws.

Changes in state law have significantly altered the landscape for both veteran riders and those new to riding ATVs or UTVs. It’s important that individuals familiarize themselves with these substantial modifications in policy to ensure they remain informed participants within this pastime.

Key Takeaways

  • Iowa standardized ATV/UTV rules across all counties, overriding local laws but permitting cities to control street use and equipment.
  • Riders must have a driver's license, registration, insurance, and vehicles must meet equipment standards like having headlights and a muffler.
  • ATVs/UTVs can use public roads with a speed limit up to 35 mph, excluding interstate and four-lane roads, except at specific crossings.

Do ATV/Utvs Have To Be Licensed In Iowa?

To operate an ATV or UTV on Iowa roads, the person must be 18 years old with a valid driver’s license and be carrying valid proof of insurance. ATV/UTVs owners must keep operational the following items on the vehicle:  

  • headlights  
  • taillights  
  • brake lights  
  • horn  
  • rearview mirrors  

Can I Drive An ATV On The Road In Iowa?

ATV/UTV drivers will be able to travel on some road's day or night, but there will be a speed limit of 35. There will still be some other restrictions when driving an ATV/UTV on roads, including  

  • A rider must drive on the most direct and accessible route on a two-lane or county highway to or from an ATV park or trail to the nearest county road, an authorized city street, or one’s residence  
  • If it is not an Interstate highway, ATV/UTV riders can cross a four-lane highway at an intersection from an authorized road  
  • A rider of an ATV/UTV is not allowed to drive on any marked gravel or paved roadway under construction, closed, or on a detour for regular vehicle traffic  
  • ATV/UTVs can be restricted from county roadways during special events for seven consecutive days or 30 days in one year  
  • ATVs and UTVs may only be operated on state highways and may not travel on four-lane or interstate roads.  
  • A rider of an ATV/UTV can drive on any county unpaved gravel road  

This information is from the Sioux County Sheriffs’ Website.  

Iowa’s cities regulate ATV/UTV traffic within their city limits, including primary and secondary road extensions. However, Iowa cities may not charge ATV/UTV owners a fee for using city streets.  

Can I get a DUI on an ATV/UTV?

Driving an ATV or UTV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal.  

Please visit our other article to read about the most recent DUI law changes in Iowa. You can also read more about OWI in Iowa in another one of our articles.  


If you want to know more about your rights as an ATV/UTV owner or if you need counsel for a DUI/OWI offense, please reach out to us. To request a consultation with an O’Flaherty Law Iowa attorney, call our office at (630) 324-6666. You can also fill out our confidential contact form, and we will get back to you shortly.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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