Nova Scotia has New OHV Regulations

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Effective immediately, anyone operating an off-highway vehicle (OHV)on another person's property must have liability insurance of at least $500,000, as well as accident benefit coverage.

This change is a result of legislation that came into effect in 2006, after a recommendation of the Voluntary Planning Task Force report on off-highway vehicle use. The final regulations have now been approved by the government.

"In keeping with other changes to the use of off-highway vehicles, this is an important step in establishing responsible rules for OHV use," said Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. "This may help address the concerns of private landowners who don't mind OHVs using their property, but are concerned about damages and liability."

Off-highway vehicle users who operate exclusively on their own property are exempt from the insurance requirement.

The liability insurance is required under the Off-highway Vehicles Act and will cover bodily injury to a third party or damage to their property up to the insurance limit. The accident coverage is required by the Insurance Act.

Those who race off-highway vehicles can not purchase liability insurance and are exempt from the requirement for insurance, if they meet the following conditions:

  • -- the driver is a member of a club that is registered and in good standing under the Societies Act or the Companies Act of Nova Scotia;
  • -- the club has off-highway vehicle racing as one of its objectives;
  • -- the driver is a member in good standing of the club and holds a valid membership card; and
  • -- the machine they ride is designed or modified for racing purposes and used solely for that purpose.

Parents of children who operate an off-highway vehicle are responsible for purchasing insurance since the policy is for the vehicle and should cover all drivers. In Nova Scotia, off-highway vehicle drivers/operators must follow the rules for each age group. For example, a youth under the age of 14 operating a snowmobile must:

  • -- have successfully taken the safety training course (by Oct. 1, 2008),
  • -- be under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian, and
  • -- be operating the vehicle on private land or in a designated area.

The fine under the Off-highway Vehicles Act for operating an off-highway vehicle without third-party liability insurance is $250. For a second offense, it is $500 and third offense it is $750.

To view the full regulations, see the Department of Justice website at www.gov.ns.ca/just/regulations/rxam-z.htm#ohveh.

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