Mutant Vehicles

DMV Criteria and Licensing Process

In order to drive a Mutant Vehicle around Black Rock City, it must be licensed. This page will tell you what you must do to get a Mutant Vehicle license.

For criteria for registering a vehicle for people with disabilities, go here.

How do you get a license?

  • Be sure to read about the Department of Mutant Vehicles, and the definition of a Mutant Vehicle.
  • Know the Black Rock City Vehicle Protocols and Driving Rules at Burning Man.
  • Meet the DMV’s Mutant Vehicle Criteria (below).
  • Pre-register your Mutant Vehicle through our online application form. All Mutant Vehicles must be pre-registered through this form to be considered for on playa licensing.
  • Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-considered basis. As there is a limit to the number of vehicles we can invite to the playa each year, the sooner in the registration period you apply, the better your chances of having your Mutant Vehicle considered.
  • Understand that the DMV gets hundreds of more applications each year than it can license to drive on playa, and that number is increasing faster than does the number of vehicles the DMV can license. This, combined with the fact that every year people create more mutated vehicles, in effect raises the bar to get your vehicle licensed each year. Keep in mind that just because you have been licensed in the past does not mean you are guaranteed a license in subsequent years.
  • Go to the DMV at Black Rock City for final vehicle inspection.

Mutant Vehicle Criteria

In order to be eligible for a Mutant Vehicle license you must satisfy ALL of the following criteria:

There are five main points the DMV considers when reviewing your vehicle.

  1. Level of Mutation
    Mutate your vehicle to the point that it is not recognizable as a street or stock vehicle. A radically mutated vehicle will not resemble or represent a car, truck, golf cart or any other readily identifiable street or stock vehicle. In addition, beyond just changing or covering the base vehicle, the mutation should aim to provide a level of “radical visual stimuli” or “wow factor” for the other participants of Black Rock City . When a person sees this vehicle, their reaction should be “Wow! Look at that!”
  2. Interactivity
    Provide an interactive experience for participants of Black Rock City. Interactivity is defined as an opportunity for any BRC citizen to participate in some activity offered by your vehicle. The theme and/or size of the vehicle is what’s considered here. Do you entertain a crowd? Have plenty of room for riders? Provide a service to the community via your vehicle? Include an interactive element?
  3. Safety
    Depending on the size and style of your vehicle, some or all of the following may apply: The vehicle must be able to maintain a steady speed of five MPH (the speed limit in Black Rock City) or less. Brakes must be in good working order. The vehicle should have sturdy side railings and stair railings. There should be no sharp or protruding objects. A fire extinguisher is highly recommended. Keeping a first aid kit on board is just plain smart. The vehicle should also have a safe access area and procedures for loading and unloading passengers. For safety requirements of lasers mounted on Mutant Vehicles, please see Mounted Lasers.
  4. Lighting
    There are two fundamental requirements for Mutant Vehicle night illumination.1) SAFETY: First and foremost, people need to be able to see you and you need to be able to see them.Basic safety requirements must be met: The vehicle must include front head lights and the front, rear, AND sides must be lit. All vehicle extremities must be lit. Any trailer hitch or dangerous area of the vehicle must be lit. Anywhere someone would walk, step, or climb on your vehicle should be lit, especially stairs and ladders.2) RADICAL ILLUMINATION: Your visual presentation should be at least as stimulating at night as it is in full daylight, if not even more so. This can be accomplished in two ways:a) You are showcasing a well-crafted mutant vehicle that is already worthy of a day license.
    b) The lighting itself is the “art” (such as the Death Star)In both cases, the vehicle should be easily seen from all sides from some distance away.
  5. Sound
    The DMV has a new Sound Policy for Mutant Vehicles. It is important that you know it. Please go here to review the policy. All vehicles driving in Black Rock City must follow the sound policy.

In addition to these criteria, you must also:

  1. Describe the motivation for creating your Mutant Vehicle.
    If the convenience of personal transportation is your primary goal, please rethink your intent. A primary factor driving your urge to drive should be the sharing of your creation with the rest of the community.
  2. Comply with all DMV pre-registration guidelines and deadlines.
    Mutant Vehicle pre-registration is mandatory. You will be asked to include a photo or sketch of your vehicle, describe the safety considerations you are making, give detailed information about the radical mutations to the vehicle. You’ll also be asked to agree in advance to honor Black Rock City driving protocols.
  3. Adhere to Black Rock City vehicle/driving protocols.
    Black Rock City has a few simple driving guidelines. If you violate these community guidelines, you’ll lose the privilege of driving your Mutant Vehicle at Burning Man. In addition, you and your vehicle may also be removed from the event, and you can be fined by law enforcement. Furthermore, owners that cannot follow our simple rules run the risk of not being licensed in subsequent years.

Mutant Vehicle Licenses

Mutant Vehicle licenses are issued by the DMV. All licensed Mutant Vehicles will be given a Day and/or a Night license. Licenses will also be designated for Street or Playa driving, based on the size of the vehicle (see more below). Day or Night designation is based on many factors, including what purpose the vehicle serves, lighting and how it is implemented. Mutant Vehicles that incorporate flame effects may also receive a Flame Effects license. Any trailers that are a component of a Mutant Vehicle must be licensed as well. Support vehicles will be reviewed independently. Questions about Mutant Vehicle flame effects, as well as images or schematics of flame effect systems should be sent to

Street/Playa Licenses

  1. Street licenses allow Mutant Vehicles to operate on city streets (with the exception of pedestrian-designated streets) and on the open playa of Black Rock City.
  2. A Playa license allows a Mutant Vehicle to operate ONLY on the open playa of Black Rock City. Mutant Vehicles with a Playa license may NOT be operated on BRC streets except on their way to the playa from their camp (using the most direct entry).

Day/Night Licenses

  1. Day licenses allow Mutant Vehicles to move around Black Rock City during the daytime.
  2. Night licenses allow Mutant Vehicles to move around Black Rock City at night. To receive a night license, Mutant Vehicles must be FULLY and RADICALLY illuminated.
  3. Some vehicles may receive both a night and a day license.

Trailer Licenses
Trailer licenses are required for any trailers that are attached to Mutant Vehicles. These are licensed separately from the Vehicle.

Flame Effects Licenses
These licenses allow Mutant Vehicles that incorporate flame effects to use these effects on the playa. An additional questionnaire and process is required for these licenses.

Final Licensing

Final licensing takes place at Burning Man, where the DMV’s team of Hotties will look at the final incarnation of your vehicle. When you are ready to start driving your Mutant Vehicle on the playa, make the DMV your very first stop and bring your acceptance letter with you.

Once at the DMV, the DMV staff will consider the following:

  1. Does your vehicle meet the criteria?
  2. Does the vehicle meet (or exceed) what was proposed in the application?

Register Your Vehicle

After you have read and understand all of the above sections, go to the Questionnaire site to fill out a Mutant Vehicle application.

Mutant Vehicle Registration for Burning Man 2015 is open from March 4, 2015 until May 14, 2015 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time.

If you have additional questions you can contact the DMV by emailing

Next Page: Vehicle Licensing and Criteria for People with Disabilities