With truck drivers and the truck driving industry, there are a number of rules and regulations drivers must adhere to. The Transportation Department enforces these regulations to make sure safety is the norm while operating these massive vehicles. Obviously, when people drive something this size an accident can be doubly devastating.
Interestingly, farmers who contribute 31.2 billion to the state economy, and who operate very large trucks to transport what’s grown on the farm, are not governed by any of the same regulations. Indiana is, in fact, the 10th biggest farming state in the country with over 56,000 farms. Plus, the state has over 94,000 farmers. Most of the farms, in fact, 96 % operate from families.
It’s important to note, that with the field of farming, it’s more than just the act of farming. Transportation is an enormously important factor in running a competent and efficient farm operation. Consequently, that farmers are exempt from all the transportation rules that truckers abide by, bothers members of the transportation community.
Mike Templeton serves as an independent transportation consultant. He works with farmers and other companies so they follow standard safety practices. As a former Indiana State Police trooper Templeton has witnessed plenty of deadly accidents. He knows first hand how dangerous this lack of regulation could be. For him, it’s absolutely vital to have regular inspections to ensure no tragic accidents occur.
“One accident can be devastating for you the farmer, for the farm itself and of course for the people involved in the accident,” says Templeton. “I push very strongly to make sure farmers keep in their trucks in line.”
The Code of Federal Regulations regards the famers as a “private carrier.” They transport only their own goods and are not for hire. Generally, farm vehicles are “cover farm vehicles”, and they do not have to follow the same rules as carrier trucks. If the vehicle transports livestock, commodities or machinery to and from a farm, it can be dubbed a covered farm vehicle. Though it must operate by an employee or owner of the farm.
These vehicles do not require a DOT number and are free from required safety inspections and maintenance regulations. Moreover, the driver is not mandated to get regular medical examinations. CDL drivers must do this every two years. Plus, there are no length or width restrictions for vehicles operated by farmers if they are not on the highway.
So what do you guys think? Is this dangerous and a double-standard?