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The Intersection of Farming and Traffic Safety

October 18, 2016
Emmetsburg News

There is an intersection that some say doesn't exist. Others say these roads have no business intersecting, they are too far apart. And there are others that bury their heads in their devices, refusing to pay attention to either road they are on. These roads meet at the intersection of farming and traffic safety. Whichever road you drive on it's safe to say this intersection does exist. But we would argue these roads don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Over the years, the Iowa State Patrol has heard both sides of this issue. Farming and traffic safety can coexist on our roads, but it needs to be a give and take proposition. To that end, we would encourage both farmers and motorists to consider the following frequently asked questions.

Why are farmers exempt from registration fees and stopping at stop signs? These are two common complaints, one is valid and the other is not. Iowa code has exempted implements from registration fees for years. This is a state legislative issue; law enforcement has no say in this debate. The stop sign issue on the other hand, is a whole different story. Farmers operating machinery are not exempt from making legal stops at stop signs. The same fine of $195 applies to both farmers and motorists.

Why are motorists exempt from passing zone violations when going around slow moving farm machinery? This is another com

If your equipment falls short of these requirements, take corrective action before entering the roadway. Remember the more visible your outfit is, the less likely you are to be involved in a rear-end crash. LED lighting is by far a better system than the standard incandescent bulbs but there is no requirement to retro-fit. A violation of these sections also will cost $100.50.

Where should I drive my implement on the highway? Should I be completely on the pavement OR mostly on the shoulder with part of my tractor on the pavement? Most times a tractor will be too wide to fit onto the shoulder without taking up part of the pavement lane. This presents a tough choice for the farmer take up the entire pavement lane (risking backing up traffic and being rear-ended) OR drive mostly on the shoulder with part of the tractor on the pavement (encouraging motorists to pass with only a partial lane). As mentioned earlier, implements are under no requirement to drive on the shoulder. If you are able to drive completely on the shoulder without taking up part of the pavement, this will improve traffic flow. But be sure to yield to other traffic behind you when entering back onto the pavement. If your outfit is too wide to fit entirely on the shoulder, we would recommend occupying the pavement lane. This will discourage motorists from trying to pass with just part of the lane. Motorists should pass implements in legal passing zones, and avoid using partial lanes to pass.

We all know challenges exist in making the intersection of farming and traffic safety a passable one. It requires give and take from both roads to make things work. It is fitting then, that the final question goes out to our readers Will you respect the rules of each road so all can pass this intersection safely?

Safe travels to all this harvest season.

Trooper Vince Kurtz #495

Iowa State Patrol

Public Resource Unit

District 6 HQ Spencer



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