Hauling wide loads has limits

Buckeye Farm News

Using a tractor to haul equipment on a roadway may not be legal if it’s a wide load. A Union County Farm Bureau member was surprised to find this out because he’d been hauling a piece of equipment that way for a long time.

“We want to bring this issue to the attention of our members so they know that they could be illegally hauling a piece of equipment,” said Leah Curtis, director of legal education for Ohio Farm Bureau.

The Union County Farm Bureau member is a farmer who has an agricultural drainage and tiling business. The farmer learned that he was not allowed to haul a tile driller on a trailer and pull it with a tractor for three reasons. The first was that the tile driller was not exempt from legal width requirements because it was being hauled on a trailer. Farm machinery is exempt from legal width requirements when driven on the road on its own power, Curtis said. The maximum width requirement is 102 inches, which applies to all vehicles including farm machinery when it is hauled on a trailer.

Because the tile driller was wider than 102 inches and on a trailer, the farmer needed a special hauling permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation, she said. The last reason was that a piece of equipment being hauled for commercial purposes had to be pulled by a “safe” vehicle, Curtis said. The sheriff said the tractor hauling the piece of equipment was not safe because there were no brakes hooked up the trailer, she said.

“The farmer said he’s always done it this way and there’s never been a problem and that may be the case but there’s still the liability issue,” Curtis said. “If there was a wreck, somebody may use the argument that the person hauling the equipment was negligent because it was not a safe configuration. When hauling equipment, you need to make sure that you look at the width limitations and whether you are being safe.”

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