Federal Agency Backs Off - Operators of Farm Vehicles Not Subject to CDL Requirements

August 11, 2011 | Roger McEowen and Erin Herbold-Swalwell

On May 31, 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a sub-agency of the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT), issued a Notice seeking public comment on three issues relating to the applicability of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to operators of farm vehicles.  Many farm operators and agricultural groups interpreted the Notice as an attempt to require Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) for operators of ag equipment.

Note:  Under the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, states have the authority to waive the CDL requirements for agricultural producers who drive farm equipment on public roads for short-distance trips.

In response to input from several farm organizations and state governments and other interested persons, the FMCSA extended the initial comment period from June 30, 2011, to August 1, 2011. During that time, FMCSA received an overwhelming response from the ag community, including 1,700 comments on the Notice.

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