Vermont

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001
(802) 828-2000 | http://dmv.vermont.gov

Vermont State Police Headquarters
Department of Public Safety
103 S. Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-2101
(802) 244-7345 | www.dps.state.vt.us/vtsp/index_main.html

Agency of Transportation
1 National Life Drive
Montpelier, VT 05633-5001
(802) 828-2657 | vtrans.vermont.gov

Title Application

Application for vehicle title is required for all vehicles that are less than 15 years old. Vehicles older than 25 years are eligible for an exempt vehicle title.

Applications shall contain the name, residence, and address of the owner; a description of the vehicle including, its make, model, identification number, odometer reading, or hubometer; the date of purchase by the applicant; the name and address of the person from whom the vehicle was acquired; and the names and addresses of any lien holders in the order of their priority and the dates of their security agreements.

For new vehicles, the application shall be accompanied by a manufacturer’s or importer’s certificate of origin.

The certificate of title shall be mailed or personally delivered, upon proper identification of the individual, to the first lien holder named in it or, if none, to the owner.


Title Transfer of Ownership

Upon the transfer of ownership of any registered motor vehicle its registration shall expire. The person in whose name the transferred vehicle was registered shall immediately return the registration certificate assigned to the transferred vehicle, with the date of sale and the name and residence of the new owner endorsed on the back.


Titles for Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are not titled as vehicles in Vermont.

Registration Application

Application is made to the commissioner of the DMV, and the application must attest that the vehicle is properly equipped and in good mechanical order. Along with the application, the applicant should also send the required registration fees and evidence of ownership.

The DMV will issue a certificate of registration on which will appear the name of the registrant, his address, a brief description of the vehicle registered, and the date of registration. The DMV also will assign to each motor vehicle registered a distinctive license plate.

A person shall not operate a motor vehicle nor pull a trailer or semitrailer unless the registration certificate is carried in some easily accessible place in such motor vehicle. In case of the loss, mutilation, or destruction of such certificate, the owner of the vehicle shall notify the DMV and remit a fee whereupon a duplicate certificate shall be furnished to the owner.

A person who registers a motor vehicle of which he is not the bona fide owner shall be fined $500, or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.

Residents must register motor vehicles owned or leased for a period of more than 30 days and operated by them. A “resident” means any person living in the state who intends to make the state his or her principal place of domicile either permanently or for an indefinite number of years. Persons who live in the state for a particular purpose involving a defined period of time, including students, migrant workers employed in seasonal occupations, and persons employed under a contract with a fixed term, are not residents for the purposes of this title only. Any foreign partnership, firm, association, or corporation having a place of business in this state shall be deemed to be a resident as to all vehicles owned or leased and which are garaged or maintained in this state.

There is no period of grace for late registration.


Registration for Non-Residents

If a non-resident owner or operator has complied with the laws of the foreign country or state of his residence relative to the registration of motor vehicles and the granting of operators’ licenses, the non-resident shall be considered as registered and a non-resident operator shall be considered as licensed in this state.

Military personnel on active duty in Vermont may maintain out-of-state vehicle registration.


Registration Type

One- and two-year registrations are available.


Emissions Inspection

Vermont adopted the California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Program, which requires dealerships to sell the cleanest cars available to Vermont residents.

On-board diagnostic systems (OBD) on 1996 and newer vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less are checked upon purchase or as part of Vermont’s annual vehicle inspection program. Visit the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles for more information on vehicle emission control requirements.


Safety Inspection

Except for school buses and motorbuses which shall be inspected twice during the calendar year at 6-month intervals, all motor vehicles registered in this state shall be inspected once each year.

Any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer not currently inspected in this state shall be inspected within 15 days from the date of its registration in Vermont. The inspections shall be made at garages or qualified service stations, designated by the commissioner as inspection stations, for the purpose of determining whether those motor vehicles are properly equipped and maintained in good mechanical condition.

A person shall not operate a motor vehicle unless it has been inspected and has a valid certification of inspection affixed to it. The month of next inspection for all motor vehicles shall be shown on the current inspection certificate affixed to the vehicle.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $33.00

Registration Fee: $70.00 (1 yr.) and $129.00 (2 yrs.)

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $33.00

Registration Fee: $44.00

DUPLICATES

Plate Fee: $10.00 per plate

Registration Fee: $15.00

Driver’s License Fee: $15.00

Title Fee: $33.00

Special Plates: $45.00

Plate Disbursement

The DMV shall issue to each motor vehicle a distinctive number that shall be displayed on plates.

All number plates shall be the property of the state.

A motor vehicle operated on any highway in this state shall have displayed in a conspicuous and un-obscured place either 1 or 2 plates. If 1 plate is issued, the plate shall be attached securely to the rear of the vehicle. If 2 plates are furnished, 1 shall be secured to the rear and 1 shall be secured to the front of the vehicle.

A person shall not operate a motor vehicle unless number plates and a validation sticker are displayed. A registration validation sticker shall be unobstructed.  For vehicles issued registration plates with dimensions of approximately 12 × 6 inches, in the lower right corner of the rear registration plate; and for vehicles issued a registration plate with a dimension of approximately 7 × 4 inches, in the upper right corner of the rear registration plate.

Specialized plates are available.

Disabled cards and license plates are available by application to DMV.

The color scheme for license plates is white on green.

Transfer of Plates

Upon the transfer of ownership of a vehicle, the registration number plates may be attached to another vehicle that is being leased or purchased by the registrant for a period greater than 30 days.

Upon the termination of a lease of a vehicle, the registration number plates may be attached to another vehicle that is owned, being leased, or being purchased by the lessee. Full registration fees are due.

Driver's License Examination

Before an operator’s license is issued for the 1st time in this state, or if an applicant’s previous Vermont license has expired over 3 years ago, then the applicant must pass a satisfactory examination consisting of road, written, and vision tests (20/40 visual acuity required).


Graduated Driver's Licensing

Vermont has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 15, individuals are eligible for a learner’s permit.

  • Permit holders must also accumulate at least 40 hours (10 at night) of driving supervised by a parental, guardian, driver education instructor, or adult age 25 or older.

At age 16, drivers who have held the permit for at least 1 year and have been conviction free for at least 6 months are eligible for a junior/intermediate license.

  • For the first 3 months of the junior/intermediate license, drivers may not transport any passengers except parents, guardians, or driver education instructors. During the second 3 months, drivers may only transport siblings when supervised (secondarily enforced).
  • Vermont does not have a restriction on nighttime driving.

At age 16½, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license if they have been suspension-free for at least 6 months.

Driver education is required for all license applicants under 18.


Driver's License Issuance/Application

An individual must be 18 years of age to obtain an operator’s license and must not have had any recalls, suspensions, or revocations during the previous 6-month period.

A license that is issued to an individual under the age of 18 shall be distinguishable by color from a license that is issued to an individual over the age of 21.

Each applicant for an original learner’s permit or operator’s license is required to show documentary proof of identity and date and place of birth. Proof of identity must be 1 primary document and 1 secondary document or 2 primary documents.

  • Primary documents include: photo driver’s license or state, province, or territory issued photo ID that is not expired more than 1 year; U.S. or Canadian birth certificate; approved INS documents; court order containing full name, date of birth, and court seal; military ID; Vermont issued learner’s permit; and Canadian Dept. of Indian Affairs ID card.
  • Secondary documents include: photo driver’s license or ID card expired more than 1 year; court order; employer or student ID; social security card; marriage certificate or license; parent or guardian affidavit; vehicle title; and certain other approved documents.

First time license holders must have a photograph on their license. Current license holders are grandfathered. License certificate does not include social security number.

A licensee must notify the DMV within 30 days of any change of mailing address, legal name, or legal residence.

If a person holds a license from another state or Canada, they must surrender that license when applying for a Vermont license.


Driver's License Renewal

Operators have the option to renew their operator’s license after 2 or 4 years. At least 30 days before a license expires, the DMV shall mail an application for license renewal.

A person may not operate a motor vehicle if their license has expired.


Types of Driver's Licenses

Class D: A non-commercial operator’s license, which permits the operation of any vehicle except a motorcycle, a school bus, or commercial Class A, B, or C vehicle.

Class A: Allows operation of a vehicle over 26,001 lbs. and towing over 10,000 lbs.

Class B: Allows operation of a vehicle over 26,001 lbs. and towing less than 10,000 lbs.

Class C: Allows operation of a vehicle under 26,000 lbs., towing less than 10,000 lbs., and transporting hazardous materials or carrying more than 16 or more passengers.

Permit holders may not drive unless supervised by: (1) a licensed unimpaired parent or guardian; (2) a licensed or certified and unimpaired driver education instructor; or (3) a licensed and unimpaired individual who is at least 25 years of age.

Distracted Driving

All drivers are prohibited from texting and using a handheld cell phone use while driving. Drivers under 18 may not use a portable electronic device while driving.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

Emergency number is 911 or *DWI for unsafe driving.  Road Information: 1-800-ICY ROADS.


Headsets

No prohibition on wearing of headsets while driving.


Impaired Driving

All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Vermont requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders.


Move Over Law

State law requires drivers approaching a stationary law enforcement vehicle, ambulance, fire fighting vehicle, a vehicle used in rescue operations, or a towing and repair vehicle displaying signal lamps, and traveling in the same direction, to reduce speed and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to the stationary vehicles.


Seat Belts

Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers age 18 and older.

Violation of the seat belt law is a secondary offense.

Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is permitted.


Child Passenger Safety

Children ages 8 until 18 must be restrained in a child safety seat or seat belt.

Children age 1 year or older or until age 8 and more than 20 lbs. must be properly restrained in a federally approved child passenger restraint system.

Children age 1 and under and less than 20 lbs. must be restrained in a rear-facing infant seat.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.


Railroad Crossing

When an electronic or mechanical signal device gives warning of an approaching train, a crossing gate is lowered, a train approaching emits a signal that is audible, or a stop sign has been erected, then a driver approaching a railroad crossing shall stop within 50 feet, but no less than 15 feet, of such crossing and may not proceed until he can do so safely.

The driver of any motor vehicle carrying passengers, any bus, any vehicle carrying explosive substances or flammable liquids shall stop within 50 feet, but no less than 15 feet, from the nearest rail of the railroad crossing.


School Buses

Vehicles from both directions must stop when approaching a school bus when its red lights are flashing.

The driver of a vehicle need not stop on a highway with separate roadways upon meeting or overtaking a school bus which is on a different roadway, or on a controlled access highway where the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is a part of or adjacent to the highway at a point where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

Bumper Height

Modification of the original vehicle bumper height is illegal.


Headlight Use

Headlights must be used in conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather, or when visibility is less than 500 feet, as well as 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.


Hazard Light Use

Hazard light use is permitted while driving.


Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are permitted.


Glass/Window Tinting

Application of after-market window tinting is legal if a medical exemption is obtained.


Telematics

No person may operate upon a highway in this state a motor vehicle having installed or carried in the front or driving compartment or in a manner visible to the operator, a television receiver, screen, or other means of visually receiving a television broadcast or displaying any form of visual media.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

A person shall not paste, stick, or paint advertising matter or other things on, over, or hung behind any transparent part of a motor vehicle windshield, vent windows, or side windows located immediately to the left and right of the driver, except in a space not over 4 inches high and 12 inches long in the lower right-hand corner of the windshield, or in such space as the DMV may specify for location of any government sticker. Exempts electronic toll collection transponders.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A.

Motorcycle Equipment

No person may operate or ride upon a motorcycle upon a highway unless he or she wears upon his head protective headgear reflectorized in part and of a type that conforms to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The headgear shall be equipped with either a neck or chin strap.  The operator must also wear eye protection, if the vehicle is not equipped with a windshield.

Any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, must be equipped with footrests for such passenger.

No person may operate any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle with handlebars more than 15 inches in height above that portion of the seat occupied by the operator.

All motorcycles and motor-driven cycle must be equipped with at least 1 headlight, taillight, brake light, and license plate lamp.


Motorcycle Licenses

Any applicant for a permit or an operator’s license valid for operating a motorcycle, except a renewal applicant or an applicant who surrenders a valid motorcycle license issued by another state, shall successfully complete the rider training course or the department’s motorcycle examination.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

Any exhaust system on a motorcycle will be deemed defective if any changes, modifications, alterations, deletions, or adjustments have been made which would cause the exhaust system to generate a higher sound level than would be generated by the exhaust system customarily installed by the manufacturer as original equipment.


Mopeds & Other

A motor-driven cycle may be operated only by a licensed driver at least 16 years of age.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 75 feet; trailer length: not stated; motor home length: 46 feet; width: 8 feet 6 inches (excluding safety equipment and appurtenances up to 6 inches); height: 13 feet 6 inches.


Trailer Brakes

Trailers, semitrailers, trailer coaches, or pole trailers of a gross weight not exceeding 3,000 lbs. need not have brakes provided the total weight on, and including, the wheels of the trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer, shall not exceed 40 percent of the gross weight of the towing vehicle when connected to the trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer.

Every trailer, semitrailer, or trailer coach of a gross weight of more than 3,000 lbs. but less than 6,000 lbs. when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with brakes on the wheels of at least 1 axle, adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold the vehicle and so designed as to be applied by the driver of the towing motor vehicle from its cab. The brakes shall be so designed and connected that, in case of an accidental break-away of the towed vehicle, the brakes shall be automatically applied and remain applied for not less than 15 minutes.

Every trailer, semitrailer, or trailer coach of a gross weight of 6,000 lbs. or more, when operated upon the highways of this state, shall be equipped with brakes on all wheels adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold the vehicle and so designed as to be applied by the driver of the towing motor vehicle from its cab. The brakes shall be so designed and connected that in case of an accidental breakaway of the towed vehicle, the brakes shall be automatically applied and remain applied for not less than 15 minutes.

Every vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer, or any other vehicle being drawn at the end of a combination of vehicles shall be equipped with at least 2 tail lamps on the rear, unless the vehicle is only equipped with 1 when manufactured.


Trailer Hitch/Signals

In addition to a hitch, trailer coaches must be secured to the towing vehicle, while in operation on any highway, by a safety chain. The hitch on any motor vehicle towing a trailer coach and the corresponding coupling on the coach and safety chain must be adequate to ensure the public safety.


Trailer Lighting

Taillights, required; brake lights, at least 1 required, if equipped with 2 both must work; license plate light, required; turn signals, required if trailer coach manufactured after January 1, 1955; reflectors required.


Trailer Mirrors

Required.


Trailer Speed Limits

Same as for passenger cars.


Trailer Towing

There must be carried on each trailer coach at least 1 fire extinguisher of a type approved by the state fire marshal, in good usable condition and easily accessible.


Trailer Other Provisions

Riding in towed trailers is not permitted.

Maximum of 1 boat or general utility trailer may be towed behind passenger or pleasure vehicle.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be reported in case of death, injury, or when property damage is in excess of $3000.00.

The deadline to file a report is 3 days.


Bail Bonds

The bond shall be held by the commissioner to satisfy an execution issued against such person in a case arising out of damage caused by the operation of a motor vehicle owned by such person.


Liability Laws

No owner or operator of a licensed motor vehicle shall operate or permit the operation of the vehicle upon the highways of the state without having in effect an automobile liability policy or bond in the amount of at least $25,000 for 1 per-son killed or injured in an accident; $50,000 for 2 or more persons killed or injured in any 1 accident; and $10,000 for damages to property in any 1 accident.

State has Non-resident Service of Process Law.


Weigh Stations

Any uniformed police officer, having reason to believe that the weight of the vehicle and load is unlawful, may stop such motor vehicles up to one hour for the purpose of determining the weight of said vehicle and load. If the operator does not wish to submit to the weighing of such vehicle and load by means of portable scales he or she may demand that such vehicle be weighed at the nearest public scales reasonably available, however, if public scales are not reasonably available, the officer may require the vehicle to be weighed on portable scales.


Bicycles

There is no law for bicycle helmets.

Drivers passing a bicycle rider traveling in the same direction must exercise due care, which includes increasing clearance, to pass the vulnerable user safely, and shall cross the center of the highway only if the way ahead is clear of approaching traffic.


Other

Vermont is party to the Non-resident violator’s compact.

Whenever a roadway had been divided into 2 or more clearly marked lanes the following rules shall apply: a vehicle shall be driven entirely within 1 lane; upon a roadway which is divided into 3 lanes and provides for 2-way movement of traffic, a vehicle may be driven in the center lane only when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction or in preparation for making a left turn; official traffic-control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane; and, official traffic-control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway.

A vehicle may not be driven over, across, or within any dividing space, barrier, or section dividing the roadway sections of a divided highway except at established openings in the physical barrier or dividing section or space, or at a crossover or intersection.