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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Farm and Commercial Vehicles #96

As farm suppliers and markets become fewer and farther between, distances farmers must travel for supplies, services and markets have increased substantially.

We encourage Michigan Farm Bureau members to review the Michigan Farmer’s Transportation Guidebook and use it as an educational tool for all drivers.

Vehicle Regulations

We support:

  • The development of State of Michigan covered farm vehicle designation to cover rented and commercially plated vehicles for use in agriculture.

  • Uniformity of enforcement of trucking regulations by all enforcing agencies.

  • MFB continuing to provide information to members regarding the proper uses of farm-plated vehicles.

  • A simple, low cost method for the Secretary of State to verify farm or logging connection when applying for the plate designations. Schedule F forms or EINs must not be the only methods since not all farmers and loggers have those options.

  • Allowing personal business to be done in the personal pick-up of a logger with a log plate designation.

  • MFB seeking clarification on the licensing and registration requirements for farmers and others hauling livestock, equipment, and agricultural products to markets, events or shows, and people to events or shows.

  • More flexibility in the waiting period to obtain a seasonal restricted license.

  • Specialty license plates and allowing their use on farm, agri-business, and commercial vehicles.

  • The continuation of permanent trailer license plates without additional fees, and allowing these plates to be transferred.

  • A revenue-neutral multiyear plate renewal option for all vehicles.

  • Earmarking part of state, local and county fines for roadway repair to be distributed back to counties through the Michigan Transportation Fund formula. City, township and village fines should be prohibited from being allocated for local law enforcement.

  • Minor restricted license eligibility. Licenses should not be based on taxable household income, and farm size should not be a factor. Licenses will only be considered for immediate family members.

  • Individuals and businesses should be able to conduct business and complete transactions with the Secretary of State in an easily accessible manner including in-person, online, or by mail. 

  • Pickup trucks, one ton and under, that have had their beds modified should still be classified as pickup trucks.

We oppose:

  • The classification by a state or federal government to include implements of husbandry as commercial motor vehicles.

  • Any proposal requiring vehicles registered in Michigan to display license plates on both the front and rear of the vehicle.

Vehicle Size and Weights

We support the current Michigan per axle weight limits for trucks on state highways. These axle limits should be extended and consistently applied on all county roads. We support the exemption of all farm and agribusiness vehicles of any size, up to legal weight limit per axle, from no through trucks ordinance and laws. We support trailers of common dimensional size, which are currently legal on Class A roads, be allowed to operate on all roads. 

We support allowing permits to be issued for hauling over width loads of double wide loads of bales.

Due to changes in moisture and weights on farm commodities, it can be very difficult to determine if the legal weight limits are being met when loading from the field or farm. We support up to a 10 percent exemption on load limits, or up to a 20 percent tolerance over the legal weight limit on axles provided the vehicle is at or below its legal gross weight, for all farm and forestry commodities loaded out of the field or farm storage. All state highways should be brought up to Class A designation as soon as possible. Until they are, the appropriate road agencies should have the authority to give seasonal permits for movement of agricultural produce. We oppose the actions by local units of government which impose reduced vehicle weight limits on roads established or maintained with state or federal road funding.

For seasonal permits, we support:

  • The use of sound engineering principles and criteria to determine when to apply and remove spring load restrictions on county and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) roads.

  • Reasonable, standardized Frost Law permitting criteria and fees for all counties within the state.

  • Requiring MDOT to issue permits for the trucking of agricultural and forestry commodities at normal load limits during spring weight restrictions on the state highway system.

  • Prohibiting county road commissions from requiring to be named as an additional insured for liability coverage to obtain a permit.

  • MDOT being allowed to issue all permits which allows farm equipment to be trailered on weekends, as well as week days, on the state highway system.

Autonomous Vehicles

We support:

  • Development of technology to advance the use of autonomous vehicles.

  • The development of safety technology and mandatory enhanced safety features installed on all new vehicles including, but not limited to, braking and cautionary sensors that create a safer driving environment for all farm equipment on roadways.

  • Proper regulation and licensing of road bound vehicles.

  • We encourage Michigan Farm Bureau to monitor future developments in autonomous vehicles and regulation regarding their use.

Implements of Husbandry

Implements of husbandry have changed over time; therefore, consideration should be given to the design and functional use of the vehicle serving agricultural purposes.

We support:

  • Pickups, like farm tractors, being allowed to tow two wagons or trailers, provided the combination of trailers does not exceed the towing capacity of the pickup.

  • Implements of husbandry being operated and maintained with manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • MFB educating members about the safe and appropriate use of implements of husbandry on public roadways.

  • Current statute for size and weight provisions of implements of husbandry, and abide by the posted bridge weight limits, not exceeding the vehicle axle limits.

  • Clarification on the definition of “modified agricultural vehicle” and its distinction from implements of husbandry.

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