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Farm Tractor

A new law regarding slow-moving vehicles will take effect Wednesday and the New York State DMV is reminding drivers to be alert this time of year for farm equipment and other types of vehicles that travel at slower speeds.

Under this new law, all machinery designed to run at speeds greater than 25mph, but slower than 40mph, will now be required to display both a slow-moving vehicle symbol (triangle) and a speed identification symbol (SIS). According to DMV officials, the SIS must indicate the vehicle’s top speed and operators will also be required to carry documentation from the manufacturer indicating the maximum speed the vehicle was designed for.

“It’s critical that drivers be on the lookout for slow-moving vehicles, especially as farm activity increases this time of year,” State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said. “Tractors and farm equipment cannot easily maneuver out of the way of traffic or speed up like other vehicles. So, we urge everyone to be aware and look out for the safety of our farmers.”

When motorists encounter a slow-moving vehicle on the roadway they should:

  • Slow down immediately
  • Increase following distance to create a safety cushion
  • Be alert and watch for unexpected turns
  • Pass with care only when it is safe and legal to do so
  • Be aware that animal-powered vehicles may make unanticipated movements
  • Be aware that equipment in tow may sway on the road
  • Remember slow-moving vehicle operators may have poor visibility due to loads and equipment in tow

According to the DMV, Operators should be aware that the slow-moving vehicle triangle should be placed in the center of the back end of the vehicle, located two to six feet above the road and kept clean and replaced when faded. In addition, the SIS should be displayed next to the triangle. Each piece of agricultural equipment, whether self-propelled or used in combination, must separately display the required emblems. It is illegal to put slow-moving vehicle emblems on stationary objects – such as mailboxes or driveway posts.

Under state law, self-propelled agricultural equipment can be used on public roads after dark and when visibility is less than 1,000 feet when it has two white head lamps, one red tail light on the rear as far left as possible and two amber lamps at least 42 inches high and visible from the front and rear.

Vehicles drawn by animals should display on the rear either a slow-moving vehicle triangle or a lighted lantern with a red lens at least four inches in diameter, with the center of the lens to be 42 inches above the ground, the lantern to be near the left edge of the vehicle. The vehicle also should have 72 square inches of a high quality white or whitish-gray reflective tape.

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