Farmers gear up for speed protection

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SALEM, Ohio – The Ohio House and Senate have both unanimously passed legislation that would allow farmers to drive “fast tractors” up to 40 mph on roadways.

The Senate passed the bill, 32-0, with no major changes June 27. The House had passed the bill May 8, 97-0.

Legislators say if Gov. Ted Strickland signs the legislation into law, Ohio would become the first state in the nation to give farmers tractor speed protections.

Necessary

House Bill 9, sponsored by Wayne County’s Rep. Jim Carmichael, has been called a common-sense update to Ohio’s tractor speed restrictions.

Current law says all farm equipment traveling on roadways must display the fluorescent orange and red triangular slow-moving vehicle emblem.

But legally, any moving machinery with an SMV can’t go faster than 25 mph, even if it’s designed to go faster.

Provisions

The bill’s wording allows any person of any age, even without a valid driver’s license, to operate a tractor on a roadway at 25 mph or less.

To go faster than 25 mph, the driver must have a driver’s license, and must be driving a tractor designated by the manufacturer as safe at that speed.

Anyone caught without a license and going more than 25 mph is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.

Fast tractors must also carry a SMV and a speed identification symbol. The speed identification symbol is a black and white circle with a number inside indicating the manufacturer’s highest safe operating speed.

Likely. Amanda Wurst, deputy communications director for Gov. Ted Strickland, said the governor supports the legislation and plans to sign it into law.

Related coverage:

Tractors may get state OK to go fast (5/24/2007)

‘Fast tractors’ speed toward safety issues (5/18/2006)

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Former staff reporter Andrea Zippay wrote for Farm and Dairy from 2001 to 2009.

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