Expanded rules for farm road use
Cheryl Skjolaas, Director
Wisconsin Center for Agricultural Safety
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
For more safety information:
3:05 – Total time
0:22 – Recap of new road rule changes
1:02 – Why changes was needed
1:26 – Affect on farmers
1:40 – Affect on motorists
2:11 – For more information
2:55 – Lead out
Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, some changes about how farmers can use the highways and roads this season. Can you give us a quick recap?
Cheryl Skjolaas: The new rules that are coming into place for our agricultural equipment really relate to one, public safety, and two, allowing that equipment to legally operate out on the road. It’s been designed basically for fields. So there’s some changes coming basically along the lines of the size, the weight, lighting and marking requirements, how they can move and switch lanes on the road, and then some discussion around permits so that those local road authorities can help maintain and preserve our road infrastructure for this farm equipment.
Sevie Kenyon: And Cheryl, can you give us an idea of what precipitated these changes?
Cheryl Skjolaas: As we started looking at the axle weights, the overall gross vehicle weights, and really where our agricultural equipment had grown into. We realized that our definition of agricultural equipment hadn’t kept date with todays Ag Industry. And to make those changes we needed to look at it in a broader perspective.
Sevie Kenyon: And Cheryl can you give us an idea of how this may affect our farmers?
Cheryl Skjolaas: The changes in the rules are going to be coming out in different parts over a period of time. It’s going to give some allowances on weight, it’s going to effect some of the lighting and marking requirements, for some of our oversized equipment it means there may be a permit that they are required to get to operate by the local road authority. So overall, it’s a variety of changes and people are going to need to be looking for those different implementation dates.
Sevie Kenyon: And Cheryl, how might this effect people driving and using our roads?
Cheryl Skjolaas: As a motorist out there on the roads your going to want to be looking for that farm equipment as you’re meeting it, and start looking at the different lighting and marketing elements. So those are clues to you of the width of that equipment, it’s going to give you some idea of how that equipments going to move differently on the road from a standard semi truck, or your car or truck. So look for those reflectors, those extremity markers that we call them, that’s going to help you guys share the road with that farm equipment this spring. You know our planting and our tillage equipment is a lot different than our forage equipment, which is a lot different than our harvesting equipment. So basically from April to hopefully just into November, we’re operating some of this equipment. But because of our dairy industry, we’re going year round here. So there’s always going to be some kind of agricultural equipment out there.
Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, are there places to get more information?
Cheryl Skjolaas: Additional details on the new regulations will be coming out. The Department of Transportation website will be having information on under the “doing business” looking for the agriculture for the farm community.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Cheryl Skjolaas, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin Extension and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin, and I am Sevie Kenyon.