A Summary of State Laws Regulating Youth Operating Farm Tractors on Highways

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Doty, Brit C.;
  • Marlenga, Barbara L.


Driving farm tractors on highways is hazardous for youth due to the large speed differential between motor vehicles and agricultural vehicles, as well as recent increases in traffic volume on many rural roads. In 1994, the state of Wisconsin enacted legislation requiring youth who operate farm tractors on highways to complete a tractor and machinery certification course. We were interested in finding out whether other states have similar requirements. The purpose of this project was to collect and summarize state laws regulating youth who operate farm tractors on highways in the U.S. A systematic method was used that included an initial Lexis-NexisTM database search followed by internet searches in combination with follow-up email and telephone communications when missing or unclear results were obtained. The findings show that 14 states have legislation addressing youth who operate farm tractors on highways. The content of these statutes varies, but includes driver's license or educational requirements, as well as regulations concerning the ages, locations, and/or times of day when youth may drive farm machinery on highways. This compilation of state laws will be useful information for agricultural safety professionals in designing effective outreach programs. A synthesis of the findings may also lead to the development of model legislation or inform future research efforts aimed at preventing youth farm tractor crashes on highways.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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