State Senate Passes Bills to Ease Transportation Restrictions on Farmers

The state Senate has passed two bills supported by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau that would broaden farmers’ use of farm-registered vehicles and driver’s licenses.

Senate Bill 725 clarifies the types of licenses that farmers are required to have when operating trucks or truck combinations with a gross vehicle weight more than 26,000 pounds, and SB 736 will allow farmers to use farm-registered vehicles for the home delivery of products they produce on their farms. Senators passed both bills unanimously, 49-0.

SB 725, introduced by Sen. Camera Bartolotta, clarifies Act 170, which the General Assembly unanimously passed in 2014. That legislation says that farmers do not need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a farm vehicle, or combination, with a GVW of 26,000 pounds or greater. Recent action by State Police has left confusion as to whether farmers need a Class A license instead of the more-common Class C license. SB 725 clarifies that farmers are permitted to operate vehicles with a GVW over 26,000 pounds with a Class C driver’s license.

SB 736, introduced by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, streamlines the home delivery of milk and other agricultural products with a farm-registered vehicle. Currently, the state’s vehicle code stipulates farmers can use farm-registered vehicles only for the transportation of products to and from a place of business. Farmers would need to obtain a commercial vehicle registration for home deliveries, and the vehicle code prevents commercial vehicles from being registered as farm vehicles. SB 736 will ensure that farmers are able to use farm-registered vehicles to deliver products to both businesses and private homes.

SB 725 and SB 736 now head to the House for consideration.

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