If you are like me when you drive down the road alone you have a lot of thinking time, often making observations you might not make when you have someone to chat with. I laugh how our observations are relative to what we are doing in life. When I was in college living in a fraternity house, as I drove by a large old house, I would think what a great “House” that would make and how many brothers could live there. Now, working in governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau I notice vehicles and the potential violations or hazards present. For example, I notice when a driver is talking on their cell phone and not using a hands-free device, or for commercial trucks what the heftier fine that would be.
I am not the only one that thinks about it – just the other day I got a text asking me to settle a family argument. Apparently, they were discussing the color lights a farm vehicle may display on Virginia roadways. As someone that grew up on a farm and have had hundreds if not thousands of those “discussions” I could just visualize them having this intense conversation. That question gave me the idea to remind farmers of what equipment is required on the various vehicles and equipment they drive across the highways in the Commonwealth.
Producers spend a lot of time behind the wheel of a truck in planting and harvest season so its paramount that each make sure they have the proper safety equipment such as lights, horns, tire tread etc.
As you may know, I have conducted a lot of informational sessions on farm vehicle laws. I typically conduct these along with members of the Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Division and occasionally representatives from the Department of Motor Vehicles. At one such meeting the trooper speaking presented required safety equipment on each vehicle type in a convenient table, so I stole the idea! You can view my version of the table here: Required Equipment for Farm Trucks & Machinery I’d encourage you to review the table to see if you are equipped on each of your farm trucks and equipment. Each code section has a hyperlink that takes you directly to the General Assembly website showing the code online.
The table mentioned above breaks the requirements down in columns by vehicle type, including those using Farm Use, Registered Farm Vehicle (F-tag), those with non-farm truck registrations typically used in agriculture. The linked handout also has a table for farm equipment.
It doesn’t take long to make that pre-trip inspection to make sure your truck is ready for the road. It also doesn’t take that long to check your farm equipment before you go to the next field – its time well spent. There are also many things in addition to these requirements you should consider, any precaution can save from having a headache, or losing a life.
Remember you can always access the Virginia Farm Bureau Resources page here: https://www.vafb.com/membership-at-work/farmers-in-action/resources