Sheriff Hosts Press Conference To Urge Motorists To Watch for Slow-Moving Vehicles as Farm Crop Season Gets Underway

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, joined by numerous agriculture officials, held an in-the-field press conference, sponsored by Clinton Tractor, to urge motorists to watch for slow-moving agriculture vehicles and to remind farmers of their responsibilities when operating farm equipment on the public roads. Oneida County’s “Share the Road” initiative was also discussed. The event was held on NYS Route12B in Clinton.

In addition to the Sheriff’s Office members, those in attendance included Mary Beth McEwen – Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, Maryellen Baldwin – Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm Business Manager, Marilynn Collins – Cornell Cooperative Extension Dairy & Livestock Educator, and Ben Simons - Oneida County Farm Bureau Representative Member & local farmer.

“This time of year, we are now beginning to see farm vehicles and equipment on the roads and motorists need to be ready to respond appropriately. These vehicles are extremely important to Oneida County’s agriculture community, which is our county’s largest industry, according to Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol.

“Farmers are the lifeblood of Oneida County,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said. “Not only do they put food on our tables, but agriculture is the main industry that drives our economy. As our farmers take to the roads with their vehicles and equipment this time of year, we must be aware of their presence to ensure everyone’s safety. Please use caution when traveling near county farmland so we can all ‘Share the Road’ together.”

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

Operators of the farm tractors & equipment 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. 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 headlamps, 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 (horse & buggy) must 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.