Utah > Ice Fishing Utah

Snowdog Registration - Does it need to be?

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I am no lawyer, and I don't work for the Utah DMV - but I do know how to read.  And reading the Utah Code is an easy task even some of it is poorly written.  Utah Code Title 41 covers Motor Vehicles.  Within Title 41 is Chapter 22 which covers Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV).  Here is a quote from Code 41-22-2:

--- Quote from: Utah Code C41-22 ---41-22-2 Definitions. As used in this chapter: (22) "Snowmobile" means any motor vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice and steered and supported in whole or in part by skis, belts, cleats, runners, or low pressure tires.

--- End quote ---

Choice of words is important and the words chosen for this part of the code say "steered AND supported".  In other words, some THING most be used to both steer and support the OHV.  There are no skis or tires on a Snowdog.  There is a track that supports the Snowdog.  Can the track be considered a belt, cleats, or runners?  Don't know because those three terms are not defined in Code C41-22-2.  But, the steering of the Snowdog is accomplished by applying pressure (pushing) the handlebar to one side or the other and handlebars are not part of the definition in C41-22-2 (22).  So, it is my opinion that the Snowdog does not fit the definition of a snowmobile in the Code.

However, there are some other definitions in C41-22-2 that do suggest that a Snowdog should be registered as an "All-terrain type III vehicle".  The definition for an "All-terrain type III vehicle" is this:

--- Quote from: Utah Code C41-22 ---41-22-2 Definitions. As used in this chapter: (4) (a) "All-terrain type III vehicle" means any other motor vehicle, not defined in Subsection (2), (3), (12), or (22), designed for or capable of travel over unimproved terrain.

--- End quote ---

Further, the definition of "motor vehicle" is stated thusly:

--- Quote from: Utah Code C41-22 ---(11) (a) "Motor vehicle" means every vehicle which is self-propelled.
--- End quote ---

And the definition also says:

--- Quote from: Utah Code C41-22 ---(11) (b) "Motor vehicle" includes an off-highway vehicle.
--- End quote ---

And finally, an OHV is defined as:

--- Quote from: Utah Code C41-22 ---(14) "Off-highway vehicle" means any snowmobile, all-terrain type I vehicle, all-terrain type II vehicle, all-terrain type III vehicle, or motorcycle.
--- End quote ---

I'm going to submit this information to the Utah DMV and request they make a decision as to whether the Snowdog should be registered as a snowmobile or as a Type III OHV.  They will probably lean toward that which will bring in the most income via the fees collected which is register as a Type III OHV.  We'll see.  In the meantime, I think we will be seeing more and more requests or citations by Conservation Officers/Park Rangers to get your Snowdog registered or else.


--- Quote from: DMV ---We have checked with Parks and Recreation on these vehicle types, and at this time they are not required to be titled or registered.  If you have additional questions please reply to this email or contact our Customer Service Representatives for further assistance. Hours are Monday Friday from 8 a.m. 5 p.m. at 801-297-7780 or 1-800-368-8824.
--- End quote ---
I'm still waiting for an answer from the folks that actually control the OHV Program in Utah.  They were recently moved from Parks & Recreation to another division under the Department of Natural Resources.  I should have an answer by tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

I got a phone call this morning from a Utah DNR employee.  The short answer is this - no decision has been made yet that would indicate Snowdogs need to be registered at this time.  There are several state agencies that are looking at this to include the DMV, DNR, and the AG Office.  Law Enforcement (Park Rangers & COs) are not entirely in sync on this at the present time, but DNR is addressing this and will strive for a consistent approach going forward.  For now, there is NO requirement to register a Snowdog or home built equivelent and the DMV will not do it even if asked to do it.

As the different agencies hash this out and come to a consensus of opinion as to the need to register these devices, forgettaboutit!  Just enjoy the free ride for as long as it lasts.

As always, if/when I hear anything more about this, I will pass it along to all y'all.  Straight lines and hard pulls to ya!

Boy there is a lot of GRAY area there for if its going to be required and I imagine every LEO has their own take on it. I really don't see the state missing out on any income so your right, enjoy it while it lasts Bob

So far I have only been approached once by a DNR officer (at Lost Creek) who started off telling me that my snowdog has to be registered. When I told him that I tried to register it at the same time as I renewed the quad registration for 2022 in person at the DMV only to have the DMV staff say that they "can't register it"....he said "oh" and said he would have to ask around. He drove past me 2 hrs later when I loaded up the truck to leave and just waved as he went by. We will see....


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