Lighten up: Ohio farm equipment law kicks in

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COLUMBUS – Ohio’s new farm equipment lighting requirements will take effect Oct. 1.

Farmers who have multi-wheeled tractors are now required to display new lighting for traveling at night on streets or highways. In addition, all 2002 and later farm equipment are required to meet lighting and marking standards when operated on a road or highway.

Equipment lighting. The new law, passed last May, also requires that all farm equipment traveling on streets or highways display lighting from sunset to sunrise or in unfavorable weather conditions where visibility is limited to 1,000 feet. This is a change from the previous rule that required equipment to display lighting from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise.

This change in the law takes effect immediately.

“There are a lot of people driving on rural roads that have very little contact with farm machinery,” said Ohio State University Extension agent Jeff McCutcheon. “They are unable to pick out what they are seeing ahead of them, especially at night. Most farm equipment is wider than the road and the tires are black and people can’t see those at night. It’s a safety precaution.”

Details. A multi-wheeled tractor is one that is designed for drawing other vehicles or machinery and has two or more wheels on each rear axle. To meet the new requirements, the rear extremities of the tractor must be marked with a flashing amber light that is visible from the front and rear of the tractor.

The light should be positioned 16 inches from the wheel, be between 3.3 and 12 feet above the ground, and flash 60 to 85 times per minute. In addition, the rear of the tractor must have an amber reflector that is visible from the front and a red reflector that is visible from the back.

Tax credit. Farmers who retrofit existing tractors with the new lighting equipment are eligible for an income tax credit of 50 percent of the cost. The cost, however, cannot exceed $1,000, and the tax credit is only valid if the materials are purchased and installed by Oct. 1.

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