Doña Ana County




Doña Ana County is experiencing a significant uptick in outdoor recreation, since the state public health order went into effect in late March, especially driving Off-Highway Vehicles, OHVs and Utility Task Vehicles, UTVs on paved streets, private roads and County-owned and controlled highways.

The Doña Ana Sheriff’s Office, DASO urges OHV and UTV drivers to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly, and abide by state statutes and Doña Ana County’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Ordinance, which call for the following, among other requirements.

New Mexico State Statutes 66-3-1001 through 66-3-1021:

  • Vehicle registration
  • Safety requirements include helmet and, if available, seatbelts
  • Eye protection
  • Helmet is required for all operators under 18 years old
  • Parental supervision

Doña Ana County Ordinance:

  • ATV /UTVs must have one or more headlamps and tail lamps
  • Driver must hold valid diver license and safety permit, insurance and registration
  • Speed limit is 35 MPH for ATVs or posted limit; 45 MPH for UTVs or posted limit, whichever is lower
  • Eye protection and helmets must be worn, if under 18 years old
  • Must follow all traffic laws while on roadway

During this targeted patrol, DASO deputies will provide information and guidance about the appropriate use of OHVs and ATV’s in order to help residents plan ahead to enjoy using these vehicles in a safe manner.

Following this educational effort, DASO will conduct enforcement initiatives to curb violations of the Dona Ana County’s Off-highway Motor Vehicle ordinance. This enforcement effort will be conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management as they also have received trespassing complaints referencing both private and restricted lands.

For more information, please contact the Sheriff’s Office, at (575) 525-1911.

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Safely Drive ATVs, OHVs and UTVs in Doña Ana County

Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office


The Q&A below provides basic information for your reference, before you drive a recreation vehicle. For additional information, please visit the New Mexico Game and Fish website: and the Doña Ana County Off-Highway Motor Vehicles Ordinance:


Q: Where can OHVs operate in Doña Ana County?

A: Not all public roads and highways are open to “Street Legal” OHVs.  They are allowed on roadways owned and controlled by Doña Ana County. Off-highway vehicles are prohibited on State Roads or highways.  The Bureau of Land Management prohibits riding on developed roadways.


Q: Who can operate a OHVs and UTVs in Doña Ana County?

A: An operator must possess a valid driver's license or permits, as required under the Motor Vehicle Code and off-highway motor vehicle safety permits, as required under the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act. Riders under 18 years old must:

  • Complete an approved OHV safety course
  • Carry a safety permit issued to prove course completion
  • Wear approved, securely fastened helmet and eye protection
  • Never carry a passenger, even on or in an OHV designed for passengers
  • Be visually supervised by an adult, unless they have a valid drivers’ license
  • Operate an ATV or recreational off-highway vehicle, ROV that meets age-appropriate size and fit requirements, as established by the rules of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, NMDGF


Q: Are there additional rules that govern the use of Off-Highway Vehicles?

A: The OHV must have working headlight, taillight, brakes, mirrors and muffler. The operator must:

  • Have a valid driver's license or permits, as required under the Motor Vehicle Code and OHV safety permit
  • Be insured, in compliance with the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act
  • Wear eye protection


Additionally, passengers under 18 years of age must wear a helmet and eye protection, complying with the OHV Act. New Mexico residents using OHVs on paved roads must purchase a paved road use decal or plate from the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department, MVD.


Q: Are helmets required while operating an OHV?

A: All operators and passengers of Type I OHV’s (ATV which has a seat designed to be straddled) under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.  Type II OHV’s (Side by side OHV’s) do not require helmets for drivers or passengers so long as they are equipped with full roll cage and properly utilized safety restraint system.


Q: Are seat belts required?

A: Using seat belts is required in Off-Highway Vehicles designed and equipped with seat belts.


Q: Can I operate a registered Off-Highway Vehicle on the roadways?

A:  This is a complicated answer that requires research by the operator.  Local authority or the State Transportation Commission may designate paved roads in their jurisdiction(s) and may establish separate speed limits and additional restrictions where ATVs or ROVs may be operated. State statute allows local municipalities to enact ordinances allowing the use of OHV’s on the roadway. 

For more information, please visit Doña Ana County’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Ordinance website at


Q: Does a minor child need to be supervised while operating an OHV?

A: According to statute, a minor in possession of a valid OHV Safety Certificate or Driver’s License does not require direct supervision.  However, if operating on a roadway open to OHV use, they must be supervised or accompanied by a licensed adult. 

NM code defines “direct supervision” as oversight at a distance of no more than 300 feet; within which visual contact is maintained, and advice and assistance can be given and received. A person under the age of 18 shall not operate an all-terrain vehicle while carrying a passenger.