When a passenger car is in a crash involving a heavy truck, the damage to the smaller vehicle and the injuries to its occupants are often significant. The same is true of collisions between cars and farm vehicles.
If you have been injured in an auto accident involving a tractor or other farm vehicle, it is a good idea to speak with a car wreck attorney who will be able to inform you of your legal rights and your ability to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered.
You can arrange a consultation with one of the board certified injury lawyers at the Anderson Law Firm by calling 817-294-1900. We would be happy to review the details of your case with you and let you know what we think a fair settlement value would be.
What is Classified as a “Farm Vehicle”?
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations define a farm vehicle as a vehicle which is controlled and operated by a farmer and is used to transport either agricultural products, livestock, farm machinery or farm supplies.
Common examples of farm vehicles include tractors, harvesters, cultivators, plows, seeders, transplanters, slurry tankers, manure spreaders, irrigation vehicles, bale movers, front end loaders, wagons, and trailers to name but a few.
State Safety Requirements for Farm Vehicles Driving on Public Roads
Since tractors and other agriculture equipment often travel significantly than all other vehicles on the public roadway, Texas law requires all such vehicles with a top speed of 25 mph to affix a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem on the rear of their vehicle to warn rear-approaching traffic. If towing a trailer, an emblem must be affixed to the rear of the trailer also so that it always visible. To further increase the visibility of a slow-moving farm vehicle, headlights, taillights, and flashing hazard lights must always be used when driving on a public roadway. Towed equipment must also have rear-mounted red reflectors.
No driver’s license is required to operate a tractor or other farm vehicle on a public highway, however, the operator of such a vehicle is required to abide by all other conventional rules of the road, obey all traffic lights and signs, and apply safe driving practices to protect themselves and other motorists. (For example: blinkers or hand signals must be used when making a turn.)
Tractor operators are encouraged to be particularly cautious when driving through an intersection, turning, and parking. It is illegal for any motor vehicle operator to drive while fatigued, impaired or under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication.
Since no license is required to operate a farm vehicle, this means that children are allowed to drive farm vehicles on public roadways.
Towing Wagons and Trailers
Whenever a farm vehicle tows a trailer or other machinery, it must be securely and safely attached. Use of a drawbar or three-point hitch system and safety chains are strongly recommended. Similarly, although escort vehicles are not always mandated by law, they are recommended in all situations.
It is not illegal to drive a front-end loader on Texas roads. However, these vehicles have additional inherent risks which are worth mentioning. The extra weight on a front-end loaders poses additional driving hazards which impair the operators ability to see obstacles, steer, and brake safely.
Making a Claim If You’ve Been Injured by a Farm Vehicle Accident
If you have been injured in a wreck caused by a farm vehicle it is important to make a claim for compensation against the negligent party. Hiring an experienced commercial vehicle accident attorney is necessary to prove that the farmer was indeed negligent and to hold their insurance company liable for the full and fair damages you deserve.
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