The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and the Kentucky State Police are partnering to make Kentucky’s roads safer for farmers and others.
According to 2010 Kentucky Collisions Facts, farm machinery was involved in 193 collisions that year, 34 of which were injury collisions. The injury collisions resulted in 59 people injured and five deaths.
In 2011, the state police presented programs on farm machinery rules and regulations in each of the state’s 120 county Extension offices. The programs were so successful that several Extension agents have asked the state police to return this year.
Frank Hicks, agriculture and natural resources Extension agent in Clark County, had a Kentucky State Police officer speak during his 2011 Winter School. He invited the Kentucky State Police to speak at this year’s Winter School held on Feb. 6.
“The feedback from last year’s presentation was as positive as I’ve ever received,” Hicks said.
“There have always been conflicts between farm machinery and regular traffic on highways, except now the equation’s changed in that there is more regular traffic and less farm machinery. I wanted to get somebody here who could help farmers understand what the rules and legalities are.”
Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer Larry Farris presented the program in Clark County. He hopes to clear up a lot of misconceptions.
“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extends certain exemptions to farmers,” he said.
One exemption is the weight at which farm vehicles fall under U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines.
Normal commercial vehicles fall under federal guidelines at gross vehicle weight ratings more than 10,000 pounds. Farm vehicles come under federal guidelines at weight ratings more than 26,000 pounds.
For vehicles exceeding this limit, farmers are required to have a DOT number. Drivers of combination vehicles, such as a truck pulling a trailer, exceeding the 26,000-pound weight rating are required to carry a medical card.
Farmers also do not need a Commercial Driver’s License to participate in activities necessary to the farming operation, such as delivering and picking up products and buying equipment, unless they are traveling more than 150 air miles from the farm.
And while over-sized farm loads are exempt from permits, they have to follow over-sized load escort requirements, Farris said.
More information about rules and regulations related to farm vehicles is available on the Kentucky State Police website http://kentuckystatepolice.org/  under the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement tab or by contacting the local office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service for more information on area programs.