HOUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No. 3941
In the Year Two Thousand Twelve
An Act establishing a snowmobile educational safety program.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 2A of Chapter 21 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is amended by striking out in line 1 the figure 11 and inserting in place thereof the figure 12. Said chapter is further amended by adding at the end thereof:-
"The Commissioner shall request the Board of the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts, or its successor organization, to nominate three candidates for the twelfth member of the board. From the nominations received for the twelfth member of the board, the commissioner shall select three candidates whom he/she shall recommend to the Governor. The Governor shall appoint the twelfth member of the board from among the candidates recommended. Members shall be appointed without regard to the county membership restrictions outlined above."
SECTION 2. Section 20 of said chapter 90B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting at the end thereof the following definition:
“Trails maintenance assessment”, a resident or nonresident permit issued to snowmobiles by Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts or its successor organization granting use of snowmobile trails on public and private property for which permission has been granted.
SECTION 3. Section 21 of chapter 90B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end thereof the following new section:
Section 21A. Educational safety program; snowmobiles
Section 21A. The division of Environmental Law Enforcement in conjunction with the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts (S.A.M.) is hereby authorized and directed to establish an educational safety program for the operation of snowmobiles. All persons aged 12 and above and born after July 1, 1998 or 1999 who operate snowmobiles on private or public land and frozen bodies of water, shall be required to successfully complete said program unless he or she is operating on land owned or leased by his or her parents, family or guardian or the operator is the land owner.
(A) A person who is required to have a certificate of snowmobile education shall:
(i) possess the certificate when operating a snowmobile on public or private lands and frozen bodies of waters of the state, and
(ii) show the certificate on demand of an enforcement officer wearing an insignia identifying him or her as a law enforcement officer. However, no person charged with violating this subdivision shall be convicted if the person produces in court, to the officer, or to a state's attorney, a certificate which was valid at the time the violation occurred.
(B) The following persons are exempt from the requirements of this section:
(i) a person is operating on land owned by his or her parents, family or guardian or the operator is the landowner, or on land whose owner has granted the operator permission to operate a snow vehicle.
(ii) any other person exempted by rules of the division.
(iii) any person who is under the direct supervision of a certified snowmobile safety instructor.
(C) The following persons shall be allowed to operate a snow vehicle prior to completion of the snow vehicle educational safety program:
(i) a person is between the ages of 12 and 14 years old and is operating a snow vehicle under the direct supervision of a person 18 years old or older
(ii) a person is between the ages of 10 and 12 years and is operating a snow vehicle under the direct supervision of a person 18 years old or older and the vehicle is being operated on land on which the operator is domiciled or on land whose owner has granted the operator permission to operate a snow vehicle.
(iii) a person is under the age of 10 years old and is operating an age and size appropriate snow vehicle while under direct supervision on land on which the operator is domiciled, but in no circumstance with a stock engine capacity greater than 150 cubic centimeters.
(D) The director of said division in conjunction with S.A.M. shall establish the program criteria and content and shall determine the minimum safety skills necessary for said persons to operate snowmobiles. State rules shall be adopted to coordinate a statewide program of snowmobile safety instruction and certification and ensure that a course of safety education is available free of charge in appropriate counties of the state.
(E) Any course of snowmobile safety education that is offered shall provide a minimum of six hours of instruction.
(F) The division or its designee shall issue a certificate of snowmobile safety education to a person who:
(i) passes a division prescribed course of snowmobile safety education; or
(ii) passes a snowmobile safety equivalency examination administered by persons authorized to offer a course of snowmobile safety education.
(G) The division shall provide, without charge, snowmobile safety education materials to persons who plan to take the snowmobile safety class.
(H) Once issued, the certificate of snowmobile education is valid for the lifetime of the person to whom it was issued.
(I) The division shall replace, with minimal charge, a lost or destroyed certificate if the division issued the certificate or has a record that the certificate was issued.
(J) A snowmobile safety certificate issued in another state or country in accordance with or substantially equivalent to criteria of the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators is sufficient to comply with the requirements of this section.
SECTION 4. Said section 21 is hereby further amended by inserting at the end thereof the following new section:
Section 21B. Except as hereinafter provided, no person shall operate a snow vehicle in the commonwealth without first having obtained a snow vehicle trail land acquisition stamp, which shall be issued by the director or his duly authorized agent upon the payment of five dollars per year; provided, however, that persons who are exempted from snow vehicle registration requirement need not purchase such a stamp; provided, further, that persons issued a registration without charge shall be issued said stamp without charge; and provided, further, that no person who has purchased a stamp with any current registration shall be required to pay the fee for a trail land stamp for any additional registrations or duplicate registrations. The director is hereby authorized to issue stamps in such form as he may prescribe and may issue rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this section.
SECTION 5. Section 22 of said chapter 90B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting at the end of the third paragraph the following paragraph:
“Provided, however, that one dollar from the sale of each registration shall be credited to the snow vehicle trail land acquisition account established in section 22A.”
SECTION 6. Section 22 of said chapter 90B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting at the end thereof the following new section:
Section 22A: (a) A person shall not operate a snow vehicle unless registered and numbered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or such other state or province given reciprocity by the director pursuant to section 30, and displays a trails maintenance assessment decal for snow vehicles at a location on said snow vehicle, as may be determined by the director in accordance with section 22, except when operated:
(1) on the property of the owner of the snow vehicle; or
(2) off a way, in a ski area while being used for the purpose of packing snow or in rescue operations; or (3) for official use by a federal, state or municipal agency and only if the snow vehicle is identified with the name or seal of the agency in a manner approved by the director.
(b) Any properly registered snow vehicle when operated solely on privately owned property when the operator has in his possession either a document, signed by the owner or lessee of the property, or his agent, authorizing the operation of such vehicle on the property by the operator, shall not require a trail maintenance assessment decal.
(c) The director may authorize the temporary operation of snow vehicles not registered in this state on designated or temporary trails for special events, provided the snow vehicle is registered for off a way travel in another state or province; provided, however, said.
(d) Whoever so drives a wheeled vehicle on a snow vehicle trail or damages a snow vehicle trail is subject to a fine of $250 for the first offense and $500 for any subsequent offenses. Operation of wheeled vehicles on snow vehicle trails by the owner, lessee or appointed manager of said property shall be permissible. Snow Vehicle Trails are defined as 1) any DCR recognized snow vehicle trail or 2) any city or town owned Closed, Abandoned, or “Unmaintained” (meaning unplowed) road covered by snow to a minimum average snow depth of four inches of packed snow and maintained for snow vehicle use.
SECTION 7. Said section 22 is hereby further amended by inserting at the end thereof the following new section:
Section 22B. There is hereby established with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, a snow vehicle trail land acquisition account which shall be credited monies received from the sale of snow vehicle stamps, the portion of the snow vehicle registration fee to be credited under the provisions of section 22, contributions thereto and any grant monies from the federal government or other public and private sources.
Said account, subject to appropriation, shall be used only for the purchase of land to be designated for snow vehicle trail purposes or for the purchase of snow vehicle recreational trail easements and for the costs directly related to the administration of the snow vehicle trail land stamp program.
The director may contract with the seller of land for installment payments provided that the total of all such installment payments does not exceed seventy-five percent of the previous year’s income to the snow vehicle trail land acquisition account. Acquisition of all snow vehicle trail land so purchased or snow vehicle recreational trail easements so purchased shall be made with by DCR with the advice and consent of the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts.