Ohio Agricultural Law Blog -- Rules of the Road for Farm Machinery

By:Evin Bachelor, , Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program , Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Not only have you read it in the almanac, but you also feel it when you walk outside.  Spring is finally arriving, and your field awaits.  As the weather improves, farm machinery and equipment will head back on the roads for planting season.  We wanted to take a moment to look at Ohio’s roadway laws and how they apply to farm machinery.

State law includes both special requirements and special exceptions for farm machinery operating on Ohio roadways.  “Farm machinery” broadly means all machines and tools used in agriculture, whether for planting, harvesting, or transporting agricultural products.  The special rules that apply to farm machinery are primarily safety driven, and impose additional and different requirements on farmers when compared to other drivers.

Fortunately, we have a law bulletin, available HERE, that explains these special requirements and exceptions.  The law bulletin, titled “Rules of the Road: Navigating Ohio Roadway Laws for Farm Machinery,” sifts through the statutes and regulations to boil down topics like:

  • How does Ohio law define farm machinery?
  • What are the marking requirements for farm machinery traveling on roads?  Specifically, when are slow moving vehicle (SMV) emblems, speed identification symbols (SIS), lighting, and reflectors required?
  • How do vehicle weight and dimension limits apply to farm machinery?
  • When is it okay to operate left of center when the road’s lane is too narrow?
  • When must traffic control devices like signs, signals, and flaggers be followed?
  • When may farm machinery enter a freeway?

Additionally, you can also learn more about Ohio’s laws regarding Speed Identification Symbols HERE, and Ohio’s laws regarding All-Purpose Vehicles (APVs) HERE.  It can be a lot of information to keep in mind, especially given how busy a farmer’s life gets this time of year.  That is why we do our best to explain the law in simple, to-the-point law bulletins and blog posts.

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