AFBF Newswatch | PA Dept of Ag | Career Opportunities | Search
PDF Print E-mail

Farm Truck Regulations

Policy
Article Index
Farm Truck Regulations
Overview
Articulated Vehicles
FAQs
Resources
All Pages

Understanding the Impact of Recent Regulatory Changes on Drivers of Farm Vehicles

Exemptions from Pennsylvania intrastate commercial trucking regulations have been once again restored for Pennsylvania farm trucks and farm truck combinations with an actual weight or weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less operated exclusively within the state, as well as drivers of these vehicles. Provisions of Act 81, which legislatively restored these exemptions, went into effect on December 18.

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania rescinded the exemptions for agriculture, believing that the Commonwealth would otherwise lose federal highway safety funds. However, in response to inquiries by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) confirmed that individual states may provide exemptions for intrastate farm vehicles and drivers at or below the 26,000-pound threshold that are not transporting hazardous materials in quantities that require the vehicle to be placarded without forfeiting federal monies. Act 81 provided the broadest exemption for farm vehicles and drivers allowed under federal law.

Because of Act 81, farmers and drivers of "nonhazardous" farm trucks with a weight and weight rating are at or below 26,000 pounds around the farm will no longer have to comply with the burdensome federal requirements that are imposed on commercial trucking companies and drivers - minimum age, medical certification, written driver's hour logs, and daily driver vehicle inspections and written reports of vehicle defects and repairs.

Farmers and drivers of farm trucks and farm truck combinations greater than 26,000 pounds still need to comply with the requirements of Pennsylvania's revised intrastate regulations, and understand what requirements may apply to particular local transportation activities. Exemptions for drivers of these vehicles will only be able to be restored through a change in federal statute. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau continues to urge Congress to enact legislation to allow states receiving federal MCSAP funding to provide these reasonable exemptions to drivers of farm trucks over 26,000 pounds as well.

You also must keep in mind that the truck and driver exemptions provided under Act 81 only apply to the operation of trucks with a farm vehicle registration (farm plate) and biennial certificate of exemption (farm sticker). Vehicles and drivers of vehicles with regular commercial truck registrations will need to comply with the requirements imposed under the revised intrastate regulations whenever the vehicle (or combination) has an actual weight or weight rating of greater than 17,000 pounds and whenever the vehicle is carrying hazardous materials in quantities that require the vehicle to display hazardous material placards.

The following is an overview of how the regulatory changes may affect your operation.


 

Implements of Husbandry Not Regulated

Act 81 did not change the blanket exemption already provided for intrastate operation of implements of husbandry. Drivers of implements and farmers allowing operation of implements are NOT subject to any intrastate motor carrier safety driver requirements, regardless of whether the implement is operated alone or is towing another vehicle and regardless of the weight of the implement or combination powered by the implement.

Applicable Farm Truck Standards Established as a Result of Act 811

The federal trucking standards will apply to intrastate operation of farm vehicles and combinations over 26,000 lbs. (actual weight or weight rating) and their drivers, include:

1. Minimum age requirements.

2. Medical certification requirements.

3. "Hours of service" requirements (reporting, recordkeeping and limitation in driver work and driving time).

4. Requirements for daily inspections and written reports of the vehicle's condition by drivers, and repair and written reports of repair by employers.

Single Unit Vehicles, greater than 26,000 lbs.2 with a Farm Truck Registration Plate (not pulling a trailer of some type)

1. The 18 year minimum age requirement for the driver applies when a single unit vehicle is driven more than 150 miles from home farm.3

2. The medical card requirement for the driver applies when a single unit vehicle is driven more than 150 miles from home farm.

3. The hours of service logging and reporting activities will be required unless a special exemption, outlined in detail below, applies to that particular trip.

4. Requirements for driver vehicle inspection and repair will apply, regardless of distance driven from home farm.

Single Unit Vehicles, greater than 26,000 lbs. with a Farm Sticker4 (not pulling a trailer of some type)

1. The 18 year minimum age requirement for the driver does not apply, provided the vehicle is being driven within the mileage limitations of the registration exempt sticker.

2. The medical card requirement for the driver does not apply, provided the vehicle is being driven within the mileage limitations of the registration exempt sticker.

3. The hours of service logging and reporting activities will be required unless a special exemption, outlined in detail below, applies to that particular trip.

4. Requirements for driver vehicle inspection and repair will apply, regardless of distance driven from home farm.


 

Articulated Vehicles, greater than 26,000 lbs.5 with a Farm Truck Registration Plate or Farm Sticker (pulling a trailer or non-motorized farm implement)

1. The 18 year minimum age requirement for the driver applies, regardless of the distance driven from the home farm.

2. The medical card requirement for the driver applies, regardless of the distance driven from the home farm.

3. The hours of service logging and reporting activities will be required unless a special exemption, outlined in detail below, applies to that particular trip.

4. Requirements for driver vehicle inspection and repair will apply, regardless of distance driven from home farm.

Possible Exemptions from the Hours of Service Requirements

There are two exemptions that may apply, providing relief from the hours of service requirements. However, under the provisions of the new regulations, it is possible that one trip qualifies for the exemption, but a different trip, under different circumstances does not qualify for the same exemption.

• Ag Operation Exemption – the most helpful exemption is called the "Agricultural Operation" Exemption. In order to qualify for this exemption, transportation is limited to the hauling of livestock feed and agricultural supplies and products under the following two conditions:

oTransportation must be conducted within a 100-mile radius of the farm.

oHauling agricultural supplies and products must be conducted during the established planting and harvest season.

It is important to note that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture responded to an earlier request from PFB by extending Pennsylvania's designated "planting and harvesting season" to a year round designation. Previously, the designation did not include the months of December, January and February.

• Short Haul Exemption - Another exemption that may apply is the "Short Haul" exemption. This exemption applies if all transportation is conducted with a 100 air-mile radius of the farm and all of the following conditions are met:

oThe driver returns to the work location (farm) within 12 consecutive hours

oThe driver has at least 10 consecutive off duty hours separating each 12 hours on duty

oThe driver does not exceed 11 hours of maximum driving time following 10 consecutive hours off duty

oThe motor carrier (farmer) that employs the driver retains a record (for a period of six months) of the following items:

 Time each day the drive reported

 Total number of hours the driver is on duty each day

 Time driver is released each day

 Total time for the proceeding seven days, if the driver is a first time driver or drives the vehicles intermittently


 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding these Regulations:

Do I now need a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) to operate my farm truck because of the regulations changes?

No. The new regulations have not changed the requirements or exemptions from CDL requirements that were in place. As always, you do not need a CDL to operate any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (or, if towing another vehicle a gross combination weight rating) of 26,000 pounds or less. For trucks and truck tractors with a farm vehicle registration or exemption that have a gross weight rating (or gross combination weight rating) over 26,000 pounds, the Vehicle Code does not require a CDL if the driver has a Class C license, the vehicle is being operated in accordance with the farm vehicle's restrictions in use; and the vehicle is being operated within a 150-mile radius of the farm. If that same truck or truck tractor is operated beyond that 150-mile radius, the driver will need to have a CDL.

Do I need to display a hazardous materials placard?

Drivers of trucks and combinations (farm plates and farm stickers) carrying hazardous materials in amounts that require display of hazardous materials placards must comply regardless of whether the vehicle is being driven in state or outside of Pennsylvania.


 

Helpful Resources for Farmers

• The form a doctor must complete in order to submit for a medical card can be found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Website at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/safetyprograms/medical-Report.pdf.

• Pennsylvania Farm Bureau maintains an online transportation library at http://www.pfb.com/news/ag-issues/farm-vehicles.htm where you can find the answers to many of your transportation questions.

1. Assumes the truck (combination) is not transporting hazardous materials in quantities that require the vehicle to display hazardous materials placards.

2. Weight threshold is interpreted to be actual vehicle weight or vehicle weight rating.

3. Address where the vehicle is registered.

4. Operating under a biennial certificate of exemption.

5. Weight threshold is interpreted to be actual vehicle combination weight or combination weight rating.

 

final-actnow-logo-button

Vote-trackerjpg Bill-Tracker
Elected-Officials Register-to-Vote

Visit Us on Social Media Facebook Twitter YouTube