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Snow Regulations 

Notice of 2011 Snowmobile Law Changes
Excerpts from the Registration & Safety Act Digest:
This brochure is only a guide to the highlights of the Illinois Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act. The entire Act may be found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 625. More complete information is available from the Department of Natural Resources Regional Offices or from Law Enforcement Division personnel. Please remember that regulations on State or County managed public lands may be more restrictive. Be sure to check area managers to determine local regulations. The information in this brochure is based on laws in effect as of February 2004 and is subject to change.

FIRST TIME REGISTRATIONS (New Registrations)

To register your snowmobile, you must submit a snowmobile application, required documents and the appropriate fee. Applications are available from Department of Natural Resources offices, snowmobile dealers or online here. If you have any questions regarding registration call 1-800-382-1696 or 217-557-0180.

Credit card holders can renew their snowmobile registration by calling:

1-866-867-3542  (1-866-TO-RELICENSE) or online here.

Have your credit card, current registration certificate and a pen and paper ready before making the call or going on-line.

These convenient services allow you to renew your snowmobile registration 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

PREPARE

Snowmobile safety education is a positive move toward a safe and enjoyable snowmobile future. Enroll in a Snowmobile Safety course now. For information on class locations call 1-800-832-2599.

Ameritech's relay number for the deaf is: 1-800-526-0844.

ARTICLE 1. DEFINITIONS

Snowmobile - "snowmobile" means a self-propelled device designed for travel on snow or ice or natural terrain, steered by skis or runners, and supported in part by skis, belts, or cleats.

Operate - "Operate" means to ride in or on, other than as a passenger, use or control the operation of a snowmobile in any manner, whether or not the snowmobile is underway.

Highway- "Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

Roadway - "Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.

Cowling - "Cowling" means the forward portions of a snowmobile surrounding the clutch and motor assembly.

ARTICLE 2. INSPECTION

Agents of the Department of Natural Resources or other duly authorized police officers may stop and inspect any snowmobile at any time for the purpose of determining compliance with this Act.

Every snowmobile if underway and upon being hailed by a designated law enforcement officer, must stop immediately.

ARTICLE 3. REGISTRATION

Operation of Unnumbered snowmobiles. Except as hereinafter provided, no person shall operate any snowmobile within this State unless such snowmobile has been registered and numbered in accordance with the provisions of this Article, and unless the certificate of number awarded to such snowmobile is in full force and effect.

Exception from Number Provisions of this Act. A snowmobile shall not be required to be numbered under this Act if it is:

A. Owned and used by the United States, another state, or a political subdivision thereof, but such snowmobiles shall display the name of the owner of the cowling thereof.

B Covered by a valid registration or license of another state, province or country which is the domicile of the owner of the snowmobile and is not operated within this State on more than 30 consecutive days in any calendar year.

C. Owned and operated on lands owned by the owner or operator or on lands to which he has a contractual right other than as a member of a club or association, provided the snowmobile is not operated elsewhere within the state.

D. Designed for use by small children primarily as a toy and used only on private property and not on any public use trail.

Identification Number Application. The owner of each snowmobile requiring numbering by the State shall file a snowmobile application with the Department. The application shall be signed by the owner of the snowmobile and shall be accompanied by the required documents and appropriate fee.

Identification Number Display. The Department shall issue to the snowmobile owner two registration expiration decals with the number awarded to that snowmobile imprinted upon the decals. The owner shall apply these decals on each side of the cowling of such snowmobile. The certificate of number shall be pocket size and shall be available at all times for inspection on the snowmobile for which issued, whenever such snowmobile is in operation.

ARTICLE 4. SNOWMOBILE EQUIPMENT

All snowmobiles operating within the State of Illinois shall be equipped with:

A. At least one white head-lamp having a minimum candlepower of sufficient intensity to exhibit a white light plainly visible from a distance of at least 500 feet ahead during hours of darkness under normal atmospheric conditions.(NOTE: headlamp must be illuminated at all times during operation.)

B. At least one red tail lamp having a minimum candlepower of sufficient intensity to exhibit a red light plainly visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear during hours of darkness under normal atmospheric conditions.(NOTE: tail lamp must be illuminated a tall times during operation.)

C. A brake system in good mechanical condition.

D. Reflective material of a minimum area of 16 square inches mounted on each side of the cowling. Identifying number may include in computing the required 16 square inch area.

E. Adequate sound suppression equipment. No snowmobile manufactured after June 1, 1972, shall be sold or offered for sale, unless it is equipped with sound suppression devices that limit total machine noise in accordance with noise pollution standards established pursuant to the "Chapter 415, 5/1 et seq.

ARTICLE 5. CONTROL PROVISIONS

1. Operation Generally. It is unlawful for any person to drive or operate any snowmobile in the following ways:

A. At a rate of speed too fast for conditions and the fact that the speed of the snowmobile does not exceed the applicable maximum speed limit allowed does not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle or object, within legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.

B. In a careless, reckless or negligent manner.

C. At any time without at least one lighted headlamp and one lighted tail lamp on the snowmobile.

D. Within any nature preserve.

E. On the tracks or right of way of an operating railroad.

F. In any tree nursery or planting in a manner which damages or destroys growing stock, or creates a substantial risk thereto.

G. On private property without the written or verbal consent of the owner or lessee.

H. On the frozen surface of public waters of this State within 100 feet of a person, including a skater not in or upon a snowmobile; within 100 feet of a person engaged in fishing, except at the minimum speed required to maintain forward movement of the snowmobile; on an area which has been cleared of snow for skating purposes unless the area is necessary for access to the frozen waters of this State.

I. Within 100 feet of a dwelling between midnight and 6 a.m. at a speed greater than the minimum speed required to maintain forward movement of the snowmobile. This provision would not apply on private property where verbal or written consent of the owner or lessee has been granted to snowmobile upon such private property or frozen waters of this State.

2. Operation on Highways. It is unlawful for any person to drive or operate any snowmobile on a highway in this State except as follows:

A. On highways other than tollways, interstate highways and fully or limited access-controlled highways snowmobiles may make a direct crossing provided:

(1) The crossing is made at an angle of approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the highway and at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing; and

(2) The snowmobile is brought to a complete stop before crossing a roadway; and

(3) The operator yields the right of way to all oncoming traffic which constitutes a hazard.

B. On highways other than tollways, interstate highways and fully limited access controlled highways snowmobiles may be operated not less than 10 feet from the roadway and in the same direction as traffic. On such highways, other than State highways, the corporate authorities of a city, village or incorporated town may adopt ordinances providing for variance from the 10 foot separation requirement of this subsection within city, village or town limits. Corporate authorities of a city, village or incorporated town may adopt ordinances providing for trails and regulating snowmobile operation within city, village or town limits.

C. On highways other than tollways, interstate highways and fully or limited access controlled highways snowmobiles may be operated on roadways when it is necessary to cross a bridge or culvert or when it is impracticable to gain immediate access to an area adjacent to a highway where a snowmobile is to be operated.

D. Corporate authorities of a city, village or incorporated town may by ordinance designate one or more specific public highways or street within their jurisdiction as egress and ingress routes for the use of snowmobiles. In the event that such public highways or street are under the jurisdiction of the State of Illinois, expressed written consent of the Illinois Department of Transportation shall be required. Corporate authorities acting under the authority of this paragraph D shall erect and maintain signs giving proper notice thereof.

E. Snowmobiles may be lawfully driven or operated upon those highways where posted by the township road commissioner in townships with a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants. For purposes of this paragraph E, "highways" are defined as township roads pursuant to Section 2-205 of the Illinois Highway Code.

3. Youthful Operators

A. No person under 10 years of age may operate a snowmobile, other than machines designed for use by small children primarily as a toy and used only on private property and not on any public use trail.

B. Persons at least 10 and less than 12 years of age may operate a snowmobile only if:

(1) they are either accompanied on the snowmobile by a parent or guardian or a person at least 16 years of age designated by a parent or guardian.

C. Persons at least 12 and less than 16 years of age may operate a snowmobile only if:

(1) they are accompanied on the snowmobile by a parent or guardian or a person at least 16 years of age designated by a parent or guardian or

(2) such snowmobile operator is in possession of a snowmobile Safety Certificate issued by the Department of Natural Resources, authorizing the holder to operate snowmobiles.

D. Any person who operates a snowmobile on a highway as provided in Article 5 shall (a) possess a safety a valid motor vehicle driver's license; or (b) possess a safety certificate as provided for in the Section. Any such person less than 16 years of age shall also be under the immediate supervision of a parent or guardian or a person at least 18 years of age designated by the parent or guardian.

E. Violations of this Section done with the knowledge of a parent or guardian shall be deemed a violation by the parent or guardian and punishable under Article X of this Act (625 ILCS 40/10-1).

4. Operation on Ice

Snowmobiles may be operated on the frozen waters of this state subject to the general operation control provisions.

5. Other Prohibitions

A. No person, except persons permitted by law, shall operate or ride any snowmobile with any firearm in his possession unless it is unloaded and enclosed in a carrying case, or any bow unless it is unstrung in a carrying case.

B. No person shall deposit from a snowmobile on the snow, ice or ground surface, trash, glass, garbage, insoluble material or other offensive matter.

C. No person shall use a snowmobile to take, pursue or intentionally harass or disturb wildlife, except such restrictions shall not apply to a person acting to protect live stock from predatory animals.

6. Operating a snowmobile Under the Influence of Alcohol or Other Drug (OUI)

No person shall operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug to the degree which renders him/her incapable of safely operating such snowmobile, or who has any amount of drug, substance or compound in his/her blood or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis as defined in the Cannabis Control Act or a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substance Act.

ARTICLE 6. ACCIDENT REPORTS

A. The operator of a snowmobile involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty, shall render to other persons affected by this collision, accident, or other casualty such assistance as may be practicable and as may be necessary in order to save them from or minimize any danger caused by the collision, accident, or casualty and also shall give his/her snowmobile to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, accident or other casualty.

B. In the case of collision, accident, or other casualty involving the operation of a snowmobile, the operator thereof, if the collision, accident or other casualty results in death or injury to a person or damage to property in excess of $750 shall file with the Department a full description of the collision, accident, or other casualty, including such information as the Department may, by regulation, require. Reports of such accidents must be filed with the Department on a Department Accident Report form within 5 days.

C. Reports of accidents resulting in person injury wherein a person is incapacitated for a period exceeding 72 hours, must be filed with the Department on a Department Accident Report form within 5 days. Accidents which result in loss of life shall by report to the Department on a Department form within 48 hours.

ARTICLE 9. SPECIAL FUND

Snowmobile Trail Establishment Fund. Effective April 1, 2011, the snowmobile Registration and Safety Act was amended so that 50% of each new, transfer-renewal and renewal registration fee shall be deposited in this fund and shall be used for disbursement, upon written application to an subsequent approval by the Department, to nonprofit snowmobile clubs and organizations for construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of snowmobile trails and areas for the use of snowmobiles.

REGION I
2317 E Lincolnway
Sterling IL 61081
(815) 625-0086

REGION II
2050 W Stearns Rd
Bartlett IL 61081
(847) 608-3100

REGION III
1555 State Route 54
Clinton IL 61727
(217) 935-6860 Ext. 228

REGION IV
421 Alton Commerce Pkwy
Alton IL 62002
(618) 462-1181

REGION V
11731 State Highway 37
Benton IL 62812
(618) 435-8138

SPRINGFIELD ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield IL 62702-1271
(217) 782- 6431 (Law Enforcement)

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Equal opportunity to participate in programs of The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and those funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies is available to all individuals regardless of race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or other non-merit factors. If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the funding source's civil rights office and/or the Equal Opportunity Officer, IDNR One Natural Resources Way., Springfield, IL 62702-1271, 217/785-0067; TTY 217/782-9175.

This information may be provided in an alternative format if required. Contact the DNR Clearinghouse at 217/782-7498 for assistance.