06 September 2009 - Please Use the Slow-Moving Vehicle Properly

At two farm shows I recently attended, I had something very unusual happen; something I don't recall happening in other years at other farm shows. I had seven, count them, seven farmers come up to me and complain about the illegal use of the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem. They said, "Samuelson, you need to talk about it and get something done, so that people know there is a law regarding the use of the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem".

This is something that has frustrated me for years; and again, gets my blood pressure rising. It happens every time I see the SMV emblem used as a driveway marker in towns and rural communities; it makes me even angrier when I see a farmer using the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem on a mail box post to mark the driveway entrance.

Let me refresh your memory about this emblem; triangular in shape, a deep red florescent border and a bright orange center that was designed more than three decades ago by agricultural safety specialists. Its purpose...to attach to the back of tractors, combines, grain wagons and other slow-moving equipment and serve as a warning to motorists on rural roads that they are approaching a much slower moving vehicle in front of them, giving them sufficient time to slow down and avoid a collision.

Because they are easily visible at night with that reflective fluorescent finish, a lot of people now like to use them for driveway markers, to help them find the driveway at night. That is an illegal use of the SMV emblem in nearly every state. Unfortunately, our law enforcement officers don't have the time to ticket everybody using it in that manner. But I would ask that you, if you are using a Slow Moving Vehicle emblem as a driveway marker, please take it down. If any of your neighbors are using it in this way, ask them to please remove it (or put this column in their mailbox and hope they get the hint).

Again, the legal purpose of the SMV emblem is to help motorists avoid a rear-end collision with slow moving farm equipment. Using it in any other way destroys its purpose and meaning, which is to save lives on rural roads and highways. IT IS NOT A DRIVEWAY MARKER!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.