November 2014

In 1998 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established a limited set of safety standards for low-speed vehicles (LSVs) intended for vehicles used "to make short trips for shopping, social, and recreational purposes primarily within retirement or other planned communities with golf courses." To qualify as an LSV, a vehicle must have four wheels and a top speed of 20-25 mph.

LSVs are exempt from most federal safety standards that apply to motor vehicles, and they are not required to meet any criteria for vehicle crashworthiness. Each LSV must be equipped with headlamps, taillamps, stop lamps, reflectors, mirrors, a parking brake, a windshield and seat belts.

States, not NHTSA, are responsible for regulating the operation of motor vehicles on public roads and for handling LSV titling and registration. Most states allow LSVs to attain speeds no greater than 25 mph on roadways with speed limits of no more than 35 mph. Four states (Connecticut, Mississippi, Montana and Pennsylvania) do not have statutes allowing the use of LSVs on their public roads. Many states allow their departments of transportation or local jurisdictions to restrict the use of LSVs on their roads.

The table and map below show which roads LSVs are allowed to be driven on and their top legally attainable speeds.

State On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles?
Alabama roads on which a low speed vehicle would not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic not specified
Alaska local ordinance may allow use on roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less; otherwise roads with a posted limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Arizona roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Arkansas roads on which a low speed vehicle would not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic 25 mph
California roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Colorado roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less; Colorado DOT may permit LSVs on some roadways with a speed limit equal to 40 mph 25 mph
Connecticut no state law no state law
Delaware roads, other than dual highways in unincorporated areas, where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less 25 mph
District of Columbia roads on which a low speed vehicle would not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic 25 mph
Florida roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Georgia roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Hawaii roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Idaho roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Illinois roads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less; local ordinance may allow use on roads with a posted speed limit of thirty-five mph or less 25 mph
Indiana roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 35 mph
Iowa roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Kansas roads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less 25 mph
Kentucky roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Louisiana roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Maine roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 35 mph
Maryland roads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less 25 mph
Massachusetts roads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less 25 mph
Michigan roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Minnesota roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Mississippi no state law no state law
Missouri roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Montana no state law no state law
Nebraska roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Nevada roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
New Hampshire roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
New Jersey roads with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less; the commissioner may permit use on specified roads where the posted speed limit is greater than 25 mph but not greater than 35 mph 25 mph
New Mexico roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
New York roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
North Carolina roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
North Dakota roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Ohio roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Oklahoma roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Oregon roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Pennsylvania no state law no state law
Rhode Island roads on Prudence Island with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less during the hours of 6:00 am through 6:00 pm 25 mph
South Carolina roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
South Dakota roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Tennessee roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Texas roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less 35 mph
Utah roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Vermont roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Virginia roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Washington roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
West Virginia roads within the corporate limits of a municipality where the speed limit is 25 mph or less 25 mph
Wisconsin local option may allow use on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less 25 mph
Wyoming non-interstate highways on which the vehicle is capable of achieving the maximum speed limit not specified