Ohio boosts farm tractor speeds

| 7/31/2007

In an effort to reduce rear-end collisions with farm tractors on Ohio roads, a new law allows farmers to kick it up a notch while driving their tractors on public roads.

Gov. Ted Strickland signed a bill into law that allows farmers to drive faster while traveling from one field to another. The new law, previously HB9, is intended to reduce the wait and frustration of motorists stuck behind farm machinery.

Existing state law limits tractors and other farm equipment to speeds of 25 mph or lower on public roads. With some newer tractors capable of traveling up to 42 mph, the speed restrictions are being lifted to permit operators with driver’s licenses to travel at speeds allowed by the equipment. Unlicensed operators will continue to be limited to 25 mph.

Supporters, including the Ohio Highway Patrol, say the faster speeds should increase safety by reducing the likelihood of rear-end crashes and illegal passing.

Crashes involving farm equipment have been on the rise nationally as more and more people move from cities to rural areas, The Columbus Dispatch reported. In Ohio, there were 14 deaths and more than 800 crashes involving farm vehicles and equipment from 2005 to 2006.

The new law takes effect in mid-October.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Ohio in 2007, click here.