Legislation aims to improve safety of ag machinery on roadsU.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced legislation this week that that they say will improve safety on public roads across the country.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced legislation this week that that they say will improve safety on public roads across the country. The Agricultural Machinery Illumination Safety Act would implement a national standard for lighting and marking devices for new agricultural machinery.
“In Minnesota, we are familiar with the sight of tractors and combines on our roads,” Klobuchar said. “It is important that our agricultural machinery continue to be able to use public roads, but it is also critical that we have clear safety measures in place to keep our farmers and drivers safe.”
“In rural states like South Dakota, the presence of agriculture machinery on our public roads is guaranteed,” Thune said. “Our legislation will help ensure public safety and eliminate the uncertainty that farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, and law enforcement officials face when determining the standard for agriculture machinery on the road.”
There are currently 50 different state standards, many outdated, regulating the lighting and marking of agricultural equipment. In addition to creating confusion among law enforcement officers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers, the lack of a uniform standard reduces safety on the road, Klobuchar said.
The legislation makes the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ lighting and marking standard the minimum national standard for new farm machinery across the country. The bill would not require the retrofitting of existing machinery, and it would grant the Secretary of Transportation the authority to improve these minimum standards as technology improves.
“Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) applauds Senators Klobuchar and Thune for their leadership in taking a proactive step to make our farms and rural communities safer. The Agricultural Machinery Illumination Safety Act will help eliminate confusion on rural roads and ensure the most advanced technologies and techniques are deployed on new equipment to make them more recognizable when traveling from field to field,” AEM President Dennis Slater said.
In addition to AEM, this legislation is supported by the Association of Equipment Dealers, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, the American Highway Users Alliance, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the North American Equipment Dealers Association.