Legislation aims to move farm vehicles faster

Senator Pam Helming announced that the New York State Senate passed a bill that she sponsored to increase the speed at which a slow moving vehicle may travel on roadways.

This legislation (S.6746) would require a slow moving vehicle emblem to be displayed on all farm machinery, whether self-propelled or towed, but would allow farmers to drive their vehicles at 35 mph instead of the current 25 mph limit. Increasing the speed at which farm machinery can operate on roadways improves the overall safety of farmers and motorists. That is why the New York State Farm Bureau has been a strong supporter of this legislation.

“With agriculture being the top industry in our region and a major economic driver throughout New York State, it is important that we continue to support our hardworking, job-creating farmers in any way that we can. This bill to increase the speed limit at which farmers can operate their machinery on roadways is a critical part of that support. This measure improves safety for our farmers and motorists alike. As technologies change, we must update our regulations to reflect those improvements and this is a perfect example of a commonsense regulatory fix. To accomplish this goal, I worked with the New York State Farm Bureau, and I thank them for their continued support and assistance,” Senator Helming said.

Current state law requires the slow moving emblem to be displayed on agricultural equipment designed to operate at 25 mph or less when traveling on public highways. Nowadays, though, farm tractors and other equipment are designed to travel at speeds above 25 mph and even greater than 35 miles per hour. The State of Iowa has increased the speed at which equipment may operate with a slow moving vehicle emblem to 35 mph to accommodate farm equipment that can travel at speeds greater than 25 mph. Likewise, New York State should follow suit.

Senator Helming’s legislation would still require the slow moving vehicle emblem to be displayed on all farm machinery, whether self-propelled or towed, but would increase the speed at which the machinery could travel from 25 mph to 35 mph. The slow-moving vehicle emblem alerts other drivers that the vehicle is travelling at a reduced speed and tells them to use caution when driving behind the machinery. One of the major reasons why accidents occur with farm equipment is that motorists fail to adequately react and respond when driving around farm equipment. Motorists often do not anticipate how slow farm equipment travels and therefore do not start to slow their vehicle as they approach the implements.

This legislation has also passed the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, and it will be delivered to the Governor for consideration.

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