Doña Ana County



The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department designed and recently distributed brochures to local dealerships about all-terrain vehicle safety and New Mexico laws that apply to ATVs.

The Sheriff’s Department defined ATVs as all motorized two-, three- or four-wheeled off-road motorcycles.

Sheriff Juan Hernandez said the purpose of the brochure is to inform riders, ATV retailers and potential buyers of laws and restrictions related to ATV use on public and private lands, as well as general safety guidelines mandated by law. He said by increasing awareness, he hopes ATV users of Doña Ana County will ride more safely and with more enjoyment.

New Mexico safety laws, such as helmet use, on-board passengers and eye protection while using ATVs are explained. Registration, street/highway use, licensing and movement alongside roads are among the transportation laws explained in the brochure.

Basic guidelines that the brochure covers include:

* ATVs must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Division every year.

* ATV riders under the age of 18 must wear helmets at all times.

* All persons riding an ATV without a windshield must wear protective eye wear.

* ATVs are not permitted on streets or highways except when crossing the roadway after making a complete stop.

* ATVs may not be used on private land without the consent of the landowner.

* ATVs must be moved by a non-mechanical means (i.e. pushed) when beside a roadway.

The Bureau of Land Management Information endorses the Tread Lightly program, which encourages responsible use of public land use. Information about this program and other suggestions by the BLM are provided in the brochure.

Acting BLM Fire Management Officer Bob Simpson said he strongly recommends that ATV owners properly maintain the spark arresters on their vehicles. Spark arresters filter and capture hot carbon particulates that can cause fires in vegetated areas, especially in moderate and severe drought conditions.

The brochures are available at no cost in cooperation with local ATV dealers. Hernandez said the brochure does not cover all aspects of ATV operation, and any questions not answered in the brochure should be directed to an ATV dealer or to the Sheriff’s Department.

For more information about the brochures, call Grant Taylor at the county’s Public Information Office at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.