(Please forgive the bad pun.)
The Department of Transportation didn’t get it’s way. It seems some bureaucrat had decided that every farmer needed a truck driving license to move their tractors, combines, etc. from one part of the farm to another via any public road.
I can’t ferret out who’s bright idea it was to make everyone on the farm who drives a tractor get a license equivalent to that required for driving an interstate semi-truck but at least they have backed down after receiving thousands of comments from farmers and hearing from several Senators and Representatives from farm states. They also wanted every tractor to have a DOT number. Both of these things, the license and the registration number would have added hundreds of dollars to farm expenses each year. This for small farmers skating on the edge of solvency was just wrong!
From one of the many website I visited while researching this post:
“Another ridiculous and unnecessary intrusion. Tractors are very dangerous pieces of machinery and operators should receive adequate training. Such training has been available through a cooperative effort between farm equipment dealers and land grant universities for over 20 years. These “tractor safety” courses have saved thousands of lives without mandating draconian regulations. “
A sentiment echoed over and over again. Yes, farming is a dangerous occupation. Right up there with North Sea Fisherman but more expensive regulation by the “nanny state” is not the answer. If farmers chose not to use their tractors safely there is little that having a license is going to change. Most farmers are as safety conscious as any other occupation.
The local tractor safety course is taught at the farm equipment dealer down the road by the University of Maine Cooperative Éxtension staff. It is well attended every year and the folks I know who have taken it felt they were well prepared to use their farm equipment in a safe way. And as the local farmer on the news said last night “”Tractors can’t go over 25 miles an hour anyhow.” Driving down the road is not when tractors are dangerous. They are dangerous when you are plowing uphill in the rain or pulling a stump or felling trees.or moving unbalanced hayloads. One of the few times they are dangerous on roadway is when they get hit by a car driven by a drunk.