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Moving Farm Machinery: Safety and Liability Laws

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

By Kelly Nuckolls

Image by Edwin Remsberg.  Image shows a tractor with the slow moving vehicle emblem. 
Image by Edwin Remsberg. Image shows a tractor with the slow moving vehicle emblem.

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If your morning commute includes driving or following farm vehicles, it is always good to read a refresher on the rules of the road.

Rules of the Road

Maryland law requires farm equipment driven at a speed of 25 mph or less to have a slow moving vehicle emblem mounted on the rear of the vehicle, which meets the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ (ASABE) standards. The emblem must be on the rear of the vehicle not less than 3 or more than 5 feet from the ground to the base.

There are some lighting requirements for farm equipment as well:

· Farm equipment must have two single-beam or multiple-beam headlamps and at least two red lamps visible when lighted from a distance of 1,000 feet or more to the rear, and at least two reflectors visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps.

· Towed farm equipment must have two red lamps on the rear visible from a distance of at least 1,000 feet and positioned to show from the rear the width of the vehicles (as close as possible). The combination of a tractor and towed farm equipment must have a lamp with a white or amber light, visible from at least 1,000 feet and placed as close as practical to show the extreme left projection of the tractor/ equipment combination.

· Slow moving farm vehicles may include yellow or amber lights or signal devices, which can be flashed to indicate that the vehicle is a slow moving vehicle.

There are also some size restrictions. A vehicle and its load cannot be taller than 13 feet, 6 inches with one exception. If a vehicle combination is transporting farm equipment, the overall height of the vehicle combination and its load may be up t