Independent Record: CDL requirement for farmers dropped

After considerable public outcry, the federal government said Wednesday it won’t require farmers to abide by truck driver rules.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that farmers will not be subjected to new and impractical safety regulations,” said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari. “The farm community can be confident that states will continue to follow the regulatory exemptions for farmers that have always worked so well.”

DOT received roughly 1,700 public comments mostly against a proposal requiring farmers to meet the same commercial driving requirements as long-haul truckers.

States will retain the right to exempt farmers from commercial driving requirements, DOT announced. The exemption covers family members and farm employees. However, commercial requirements will be required if the vehicle driven is used by a for-hire motor carrier.

Earlier, DOT also considered requiring commercial driver’s licenses from anyone driving farm equipment on public roads. That too, is off the table, much to the relief of farm groups and rural-state politicians.

“I think the biggest thing is, we could never see the problem,” said John Youngberg of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. “It looked like a solution looking for a problem.”

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