In an opinion article appearing in the Burlington Free Press, Michael Marrier poses a question about the increasing size of farm machinery and the impact on farm safety.
“I am very concerned about the size of farm equipment that is now on found on our roads.
The overall width of these vehicles require that they not only take all of their lanes and the shoulders, but also a good portion of the oncoming traffic’s lane. These vehicles are now traveling long distances.
I called the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Transportation to inquire as to why these vehicles are allowed on the roads as they are very dangerous on the roads.
The response that I received is that the dairy industry is critical to the state of Vermont, and there is no restriction on these vehicles. In addition, I was told that the state does not inspect these vehicles but rather expects the farmers to maintain these vehicles. No license is required for these vehicles as well, therefore an individual who has lost their privilege to drive on Vermont roads can operate these vehicles. I would like to know why Vermonters who are not in the farming industry are not being protected?
The Department of Agriculture actually said that if you find farm equipment operating unsafely you should contact the farm owner and report it, but the equipment does not have any identification as to the farm where they are coming from. I am all for the farmers but am greatly concerned when these vehicles endanger not only my life but those of others.
Because of their size they do not pull over to allow traffic to proceed and the number of individuals who are in a hurry and pass in unsafe zones is increasing. I am a volunteer driver for GMTA (providing Medicaid rides in Franklin County) and am on the road five days a week.”
Are his concerns valid? Driving is a two-way street and safety should be as well. Does Mr. Marrier’s thoughts put too much of the safety emphasis on farmers and not enough on the other drivers?
Let us know what you think in the comments!
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