New Law Allows More Green Vehicles to Share the Roads
A new law that takes effect July 31, 2009 authorizes the RMV to create registration requirements that allow several alternative-type classes of vehicles to legally and safely share the roads of the Commonwealth.
Before the Massachusetts Legislature passed the statute last January, the RMV prohibited the registration of certain two to four wheeled electric and liquid-fueled vehicles because they either didn't meet federal certification or there were concerns about their safe operation on roadways designed for higher speed vehicles.
The state statute allows low speed and limited use vehicles as they are now defined, to be registered, titled, insured and inspected. The RMV has created distinctive license plates for each new class of "green vehicle"
Below are the definitions and requirements for each of these new classes:
Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) NOT US!!
A "low speed vehicle" is any . . .
4-wheeled motor vehicle that . .
has a 17-digit VIN
has been issued a Certificate of Origin
has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 3,000 pounds
has a top speed greater than 20 mph but not greater than 25 mph, and
is National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)-certified as a "Low Speed Vehicle," demonstrated by . . .
The Certificate of Origin listing the body style or body type as "LSV" or "Low Speed Vehicle"
The Manufacturer's Certification Label posted on the vehicle containing the VIN and indicating the TYPE of vehicle as a "Low Speed Vehicle."
Operating a Low Speed Vehicle
To be operated on a public way, LSVs must be registered, titled, insured, and inspected. If an electrical motor or batteries solely power the vehicle, no emissions test is required. If, however, the LSV is liquid-fueled, the emissions test is required.
Low speed vehicles are prohibited from "limited access" and "express state highways" and any portion of other roads where the speed limit exceeds 30 mph. They may also be prohibited from other highly-trafficked areas due to their inherent speed limitations.
Low speed vehicles, unlike other passenger-plated vehicles, may bear commercial lettering, and may be used for commercial purposes. Because only "passenger plates" will be issued for LSVs, commercial plates are not available.
Low speed vehicles can be operated with a driver's license or learner's permit.
Limited Use Vehicle (LUV) NOT US!!!
A "limited use vehicle" is any vehicle . . .
That has been certified by its manufacturer to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for that particular class of vehicle (e.g. passenger, motorcycle, truck, etc.),
whose speed on a paved level surface can exceed 30 miles per hour but is not capable of exceeding 40 miles per hour.
Operating a Limited Use Vehicle
To be operated on a public way, LUVs must be registered, titled, insured, and inspected. If an electrical motor or batteries solely power the vehicle, no emissions test is required. If, however, the LUV is liquid-fueled, the emissions test is required.
Limited use vehicles are prohibited from "limited access" and "express state highways," and any portion of other roads where the speed limit exceeds 40 mph. They may also be prohibited from other heavily-trafficked areas, due to their inherent speed limitations.
Limited use vehicles can be operated with a driver's license or learner's permit, unless it is certified to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for a motorcycle, then a motorcycle license or motorcycle learner's permit will be required. The RMV is currently seeking a statute change that would allow the operation of all limited use vehicles with a driver's license.
Mopeds and the New Law
"The Pertains To Us"
The new law does not change requirements for registering motorized bicycles (mopeds). Vehicles that have an engine capacity of 50cc or less with an automatic transmission and a top speed of no greater than 30 mph must be registered with a small decal as a motorized bicycle subject to the following:
They cannot be operated at speeds greater than 25mph.
Cannot be ridden on limited access or express state highways where signs prohibiting bicycles are posted.
Cannot be ridden on off-street recreational bicycle paths but can use bicycle lanes along roadways.
Operators must use the proper electronic directional signals or hand signals before stopping or turning.
Operators must be 16 years of age and have a valid driver's license or learner's permit. If operating on a permit, they can only ride between sunrise and sunset.
Operators and passengers must wear approved safety helmets.
Operators are subject to all state traffic laws and regulations.
Operators cannot carry a passenger while operating on a permit.
Some vehicles currently registered as Mopeds may be required to be reclassified as a limited use vehicle when its current registration expires, if they meet the following conditions:
The vehicle is certified by its manufacturer to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for that particular class of vehicle (e.g. passenger, motorcycle, truck, etc.),
The vehicle's speed on a paved level surface can exceed 30 miles per hour but is not capable of exceeding 40 miles per hour.
Parking regulations for mopeds, Low Speed and Limited Use vehicles are promulgated by individual cities and towns. Please contact your local transportation department for any changes in parking regulations.