There are several exemptions available for farmers when it comes to motor carrier safety regulations.
Kevin Rund, senior director of local government for Illinois Farm Bureau, presented an “On the Road” seminar in Pontiac recently. He explained what those in the farming community need to know when operating trucks and farm equipment on public roads. Rund also reviewed regulatory changes.
“These rules are generally independently applied,” Rund explained. “One rule does not impact another rule.”
A commercial vehicle is anything over 10,000 pounds which is used as part of a business or a passenger vehicle designed to carry nine or more persons. Interstate Commerce deals more with the travel of cargo than the actual truck. An Interstate Carrier describes most farmers in Illinois.
“When the cargo changes form, the interstate commerce map stops and restarts at that point.”
According to Rund, the USDOT number requirement applies to carriers operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce. It identifies the carrier, not the vehicle. Once someone registers for the number, they must keep information up to date. The sole purpose of Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) is revenue generation.
Current farmer exemptions include the farm vehicle driver exemption (FVD), the covered farm vehicle exemption (CFV) and hours of service. Under CFV, which is farm plated and not placarded, both the truck and trailer must display a farm plate unless the trailer is an implement of husbandry.
“Once you put a farm plate on a vehicle, you are restricted to farming. You’ve restricted the use of that vehicle,” said Rund.
A CFV designation can be purchased for $10 from the Secretary of State. This is an annual fee. A form is available online or you can visit an SOS office to get this done. If a farmer qualifies for exemptions, some rules are waived. There is an ag exemption which says growers are excused from all hours of service regulations. This is a seasonal exemption for planting and harvest.
Under FVD, farmers are exempt from a CDL and a medical card, although this is only for certain drivers and not for combination vehicles. Under CFV, farmers are exempt from CDL, medical card, drug and alcohol testing, hours of service and equipment inspections. Neither exempts farmers from a USDOT number or UCR.
There are a number of exemptions for the CDL. A farm semi driver has to meet these requirements: they must be family members, at least 21 and the semi must be farm plated. To obtain the non-CDL farm semi driver’s license with a J50 restriction, drivers must take the same test as the CDL. Anyone qualifying for a J50 also qualifies for an exemption from drug and alcohol screening.
A CFV exemption for the semi was just put into place. This is known as a J51 designation, which allows out of state use with the license and it can be obtained at the age of 18 if you travel in-state. This applies to non-family employees and does not require additional testing.
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