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11 Nov 2012 - Use the SMV sign properly!

Once year I climb up on my ‘soap box’ to talk about the purpose of the slow-moving vehicle emblem, the SMV, the triangular-shaped emblem with a deep red border and a fluorescent orange center that was created for just one purpose, to identify slow moving vehicles on highways or country roads. That is it’s only purpose. In many states it is the law that the SMV emblem’s only legal use is to mount on the back of tractors, instruments of husbandry (combines, trailers, pull-behind tillage tools and other farm equipment) construction equipment or other vehicles with the designed speed of less than 25 miles per hour. That is the defined legal use of an SMV emblem.

Unfortunately, the fine in most states is minimal and the law is seldom enforced. The SMV emblem is not meant to be nailed to a mailbox post, a tree or a post to mark a driveway entrance; it is not meant to be mounted on something that is stationary and yet, I have seen it used in all those ways in suburbs, but even worse, in rural areas where farmers and ranchers should know better

I recently passed a suburban public golf course and on the two entrance gates they had placed two SMV signs so that at night, anyone turning in would see the reflective material and realize the gates were closed. But those gates aren’t moving and the slow moving emblem does not belong there.

The Michigan Farm Bureau is trying to do something about the mis-use of the SMV and I commend them for it. The Bureau has produced two videos that are currently available on its U-tube site. They are public service announcements explaining the proper use of the SMV emblem and will soon be made available in a variety of formats for use on individual or company web sites, as well as TV stations. I plan to use them on our weekly TV show “This Week in AgriBusiness on RFD-TV.

We continue to have too many auto/farm equipment accidents, very often fatal, and that’s why we need the SMV emblem to be used in its proper and legal way. When you use the SMV for anything other than a slow moving vehicle, you are breaking the law in most states and you are taking away the purpose of this emblem that is meant to save lives.

So this is my annual plea, remove the SMV emblem from all stationary objects and place it only on a slow moving vehicle, nowhere else.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.