Agricultural Machinery on Public Roads-Review of Statistics, Laws and Standards 851109
The transport of agricultural equipment over public roads presents a unique set of safety problems. Equipment designed primarily for off-road use must not only use roads, but must also share the roadways with other motor vehicles.
Historic data regarding farm implement highway accidents are typically maintained by state transportation departments. Such data is usually limited and may not provide specific causal information unless operating laws are violated.
State laws and codes regulate the operation of agricultural equipment on roads. Most states treat agricultural equipment uniquely, exempting such equipment from some of the requirements placed on licensed motor vehicles, while at the same time placing special requirements, particularly for lighting and marking, on farm implements.
The lack of uniformity among states in their legal treatment of agricultural equipment presents a challenge to manufacturers. ASAE and SAE voluntary standards address this issue and are generally more restrictive than state laws. In view of continued accidents involving farm equipment on public roads, voluntary standards need to be reviewed frequently to see if they are addressing and solving the problems.