Legal Street Buggy Rules in Floridaby Russell Roberts
Although on most Florida beaches it's illegal to drive over sand dunes, it's still not uncommon to see dune buggies at the beach. Dune buggies are modified off-road vehicles built on a small-car chassis. They are built for off-road recreation, but it's possible for the vehicles to meet the legal standard for traveling on public roads. Florida law addresses that topic in Florida Statute Chapter 316.
Florida law defines motor vehicles in part as any vehicle that transports people and is "propelled by power other than muscular power." Specific exemptions to the law are allowed for vehicles that run on a track, bicycles and mopeds. Because dune buggies are not exempted, they must be street legal to be driven on public roads.
To be street legal, a dune buggy must have traditional safety lights, such as headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn signals.
All vehicles must have properly functioning brakes, exhaust systems, horns, safety belts, mirrors and a windshield with wipers.
Dune buggies that are driven on public roads must be licensed and registered like traditional vehicles. But if they are strictly recreational vehicles, the license plate fee is $27 a year for those under 4,500 pounds and $47.50 if over 4,500 pounds.
Russell Roberts started writing professionally in 1975 at "The Decatur Daily" in Alabama. He was a writer and editor at Florida newspapers in Sarasota, Lake City, Tallahassee and Eastpoint. He has won several awards, including a 2007 Florida Press Association honor for columns in the small weekly category. He holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida.