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Follow-Up: DOT Won’t Require CDLs for Farm Vehicle Operators

Here’s a quick follow-up to our “Did You Hear? U.S. DOT Seeking Public Comment” blog post from back in July. At that time, we noted that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency operating within the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), had issued a request for public comment on proposed regulations for farmers’ use of public roads. Among other things, the DOT was seeking comments on whether or not to require tractor and agriculture equipment drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate machinery on the road.

According to the Associated Press,  agriculture organizations and lawmakers from farm states flooded Washington with letters opposed to the idea, which would have limited agricultural commercial drivers’ license (CDL) exemptions, and expanded the definition of “implements of husbandry or off-road farm equipment” to bring more vehicles and implements under jurisdiction of DOT.

In the end, regulators took these comments into consideration when they weighed their decision, and reached what seems to most in agriculture to be a sensible conclusion:

U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said that the FMCSA does not intend to propose any new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products, and that the agency has released guidance to states so they clearly understand exemptions “to allow farmers, their employees and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market.”

Here’s a clear case where the voices of stakeholders were heeded, in this instance leading to a common-sense decision that lets America’s farm families keep doing what they do best.

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