MANKATO, Minn. — Spring brings planting season for Minnesota farmers. That means more tractors pulling planters and other farm equipment down highways and roads across the state. That also means increased potential for farm-equipment-related accidents between motorists and those farmers.
The federal Agricultural Machinery Illumination Safety Act requires all agricultural implements manufactured after 2017 to be equipped with roadway lighting and marked in accordance with current American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers standards. The federal law also requires turn signals and amber marking lights.
Farmers are encouraged to avoid high traffic times, busy roads, and have equipment well marked. All farm equipment should have working flashing lights, reflective tape, and the slow moving vehicle emblem in proper placement. Reflective tape and new LED lights not requiring electrical power make it simpler to bring older equipment up to current lighting and marking standards.
The slow moving vehicle (SMV) emblem is required on all vehicles traveling no more than 25 mph. For towed equipment, the emblem must be on both the towed attachment as well as the towing vehicle. This orange, fluorescent triangle was invented in 1963 in response to research showing that over half of the highway fatalities involving farm equipment were rear-end collisions. Interestingly, the emblem’s unique shape occurred as creators tested multiple designs. The triangle ends would catch and rip researchers’ clothing, so the corners were removed from the triangle to create the unique shape of the SMV emblem.
The emblem is gaining new attention as the mascot for the www.FindMeDriving.com campaign, supported by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Committee. The site offers safe driving tips for driving near SMVs and equipment requirements and resources for SMV drivers.
With farm accidents on the rise, farm equipment being seen on the road is critical to preventing rural farm crashes. The safety of the driver’s equipment and the neighbor driving on the road are at risk, so all drivers should take every precaution to avoid a costly accident.
–Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Committee