Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is it true that Dune Buggy’s have been banned in Texas?
Answer: The short answer is YES. Under the Texas Administrative Code dated April of 2013, Section 217.3 (6)(B), any vehicle determined by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, (TDMV) to be a Dune Buggy, cannot be Titled or Registered in the Sate.
Question: Is this a Texas Law?
Answer: Technically, No. It is an Administrative Rule which the Department has the right to impose and enforce by authority of the Texas Transportation Act of 2013. That Act gives them the right to write rules which carry the weight of Laws. Our position is that: If the TDMV has the authority to write Rules, they have the authority to amend and nullify rules. To date, they have refused to do that.
Question: If the Rule was enacted in 2013, why are we just now hearing about it?
Answer: For several years the TDMV did not enforce the Rule. For what reason, we do not know. However, in 2017, some Buggy owners began receiving Surrender Demand Letters. In our first meeting with the TDMV, they agreed to cease sending the letters until a study could be made. In our second meeting with them, they told us that Rule 217.3 will stand, but they did not say if the Letters would resume.
Question: How does the TDMV define a Dune Buggy?
Answer: Really and truly they don’t have a true definition. In the Assembled Vehicle Booklet, they depict a drawing of a vehicle that resembles a VW Beetle with the body removed. But nothing that looks like a Meyers Manx, Manx Clone, Sandrail, or much else for that matter. The rule goes further to say that any other vehicles that the Department “considers” to be a dune buggy is banned. In other words they can refuse Title/Registration to anything that the department “considers” looks to be a Dune Buggy.
Question: Are any other Assembled Vehicles affected by this Rule?
Answer: Yes, and it gets a little vague and complicated here. Some Kit Cars are banned and some are not. IF the vehicle substantially resembles a vehicle that was legally mass-produced, then it can be Titled and Registered. An example of this would be a replica of a Shelby Cobra by Factory 5 Racing. However, a kit car such as a Valkerie, although it resembles a Ford GT40 race car, probably would not be titled because that car was never mass produced.
Question: For what reason(s) has the TDMV decided to ban Dune Buggies, Sandails, and some Kit Cars?
Answer: This is a subject on which they have been Very Vague. Initially they said that their decision was based on Safety, although they have refused to define “Safe” or to provide any statistics to back up their position. Our contention is that Dune Buggiess are no less safe than other Assembled vehicles such as shop-built Motorcycles, Rat Rods, T-Buckets, Three wheelers, Autocars, C-Notched Chassis Vehicles etc.; All of which ARE Legal. However, more recently, they have cited the fact that dune buggies do not meet Federal Safety Standards. This puzzles us because NO assembled vehicle does.
Question: Who is responsible for starting this mess?
Answer: Another tough question, that we have asked the TxDMV many times. No one has stood up to take credit or responsibility for starting this issue. Truth be told we are a year into this project and have got this far without knowing who started this mess, so it really does not matter at this point.
Question: If Some Kit Cars are Legal because they Resemble mass-produced vehicles, what happens to the argument of Safety and compliance with Federal Safety Standards?
Answer: Good Question, and one for which we cannot get an answer. To us, this is one of the absurdities of Rule 217.3
Question: Why can’t I just Register and Title my Buggy as a Volkswagen Beetle since I have a legitimate VW Title?
Answer: Technically you can. However, you have now illegally registered your Buggy by not declaring it to be an Assembled Vehicle. It could be considered Falsifying a Legal Document. Many Local, County and State Police Departments are aware of the Ban and can either stop and cite you, or even impound your Buggy; either way, you are now required to surrender your Registration and License Plates. In addition, a police officer may simply record your plate number, turn it into the State, and you will receive a Surrender Demand.
Question: Can I drive my Buggy in Texas if it is legally registered in another State?
Answer: Yes you can, as long as you do not live in Texas.
Question: What if I move to Texas and bring with me my legally registered buggy from another state, and then drive it with the out-of-state plates on it?
Answer: Texas law requires that after moving to the state, you must obtain a Texas Drivers License and re-register your vehicles within thirty days. At that time, you will be denied title and registration to your Buggy.
Question: Is anything being done to change the code?
Answer: YES, Absolutely! Many things are being done! A Core Group of the Texas Dune Buggy Owners, headed by Faron Smith is hard at work to change Rule 217.3, and already Much Progress has been made. Having received little or no cooperation from the TxDMV itself for a change in the rule, we have turned to the Texas State Legislature for assistance. We already have many State Representatives, including some on the State Transportation Committee, who are sympathetic to our cause and have expressed a desire to change the rule by law.
We have begun a letter-writing campaign to our State Representatives making them aware of the situation and asking for their support. Some of them have indicated that they are willing to initiate a Bill in Congress to rectify the issue. However, Congress does not reconvene until early 2019, and we all know that Legislation can be slow. So we wait on that effort of our campaign
We have hired a professional lobbyist who is meeting with many other Representatives to bring them onboard and he is representing us before the TxDMV. We have been Very Pleased with his Progress in those endeavors.
Knowing that there is Strength in Numbers, we have reached out to many national auto-related associations, magazines, news papers, major parts houses, etc to get our Message out there. We have experienced Great Response in this endeavor.
Since “Almost” Everyone loves a Buggy, we are currently making as many people as we can aware of our plight. We plan to do this with a mass media blitz to include printed, televised, and social media.
Obviously, none of our efforts are Free! So therefore we started a GoFundMe Page entitled Save he Texas Dune Buggy/Kitcar! As of this writing, we have raised $15K of our current $20K goal.
Also, we are selling items such as caps, shirts, decals, etc on our FB Page Save the Texas Dune Buggy, Sandrail, & Kitcar.