We continue to support legislation and education which will promote highway safety and improve the interface between farm machinery and other vehicles on Michigan roadways. This information should be included in the Michigan Farmers Transportation Guidebook.
Agricultural Safety on Roads
To improve safety regarding agricultural use of roadways, we support:
- Greater emphasis in driver education programs regarding how farm machinery operates on public roads.
- The creation of educational materials for use at Secretary of State offices.
- The voluntary use of reflective tape or other reflective material where appropriate, including horseback riders.
- Farmers using care to keep field and animal residue off roads.
- Prohibiting legal suits from small spillage of agricultural products, including feeds and fertilizers, which does not impede traffic or result in pollution.
- Farmers not being ticketed for livestock that escape onto roadways unless the farmer is negligent in the maintenance of his livestock enclosures.
Slow Moving Vehicle Signs
Michigan Farm Bureau should continue efforts to educate the public and farmers regarding the proper use and recognition of the slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign and implements of husbandry which is designed to warn other road users that the vehicle displaying the sign is traveling at slower than normal traffic speed.
Therefore, we support:
- Greater use of SMV questions on the driver license test.
- Labels on SMV signs to inform purchasers of the legal and illegal uses of the signs.
- Efforts to implement visible lighting and SMV signs on horse-drawn vehicles and education regarding sharing the road with equine. We recommend horse-drawn vehicles have flashing front amber lights and flashing red tail lights.
- Appropriate use of SMV emblems. Furthermore, enforcement actions taken when SMV signs are used for purposes other than legally intended, such as driveway markers.
Visibility and Warning Signals
To improve safety and visibility on roadways, we support:
- MFB working in cooperation with the County Road Association to establish a process for use of warning signs related to agriculture vehicles such as entering and exiting roadways.
- The use of farm and other traffic alert signs in areas of heavy farm or other traffic or similar signage allowed under the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
- The placement of yellow flashing lights at the beginning of school zones, and appropriate signage as mandated under the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
- An advance stop light change warning system at major state highway intersections. This advance warning system would alert drivers to a signal change from green light to a yellow light, allowing drivers extra time and distance to slow and stop vehicles before the red light is illuminated. This advance warning system would read “when light is flashing be prepared to stop.”
- The use of low-cost measures, including reflective taping or additional signage, to mitigate accidents at rural intersections and railroad crossings.
- Where stop lights are present on highways with speed limits above 45 mph, we support the placement of a warning light and sign before the intersection that would flash a warning that “the light is about to change” in order to give trucks and large vehicles additional time to stop.
- Reflectorized material being used on the outer edge of snow blades to be more visible at night.
- Voluntary use of pollinator habitat using Natural Resources Conservation Service guidelines along roadways and at intersections to improve line of sight.
- More aggressive enforcement by local jurisdictions of laws pertaining to encroachments (e.g., mailboxes, shrines should be on one side of the road) on road rights-of-way.
General Public Safety on Roadways
To improve safety on our public roads, we support:
- Pedestrians choosing to walk in the roadway should wear high visibility clothing and follow traffic rules.
- Further education regarding bicycle safety and rules on public roads. Additionally, traffic laws should be enforced by local authorities for bicyclists at the same level as they are for passenger vehicles.
- Bicyclists being required to ride in single file on highways, or paved shoulders when available, instead of the vehicle traffic lane.
- Revisions to the Michigan Vehicle Code to include visibility and safety standards for the operation of bicycles on public roads during daylight hours, as well as sunset to sunrise.
- Front and rear lights and high visibility clothing should be required.
- All persons over 75 years of age should have to renew their driver’s license in person at a Secretary of State office. The only test that would be needed is a vision test. This test would be optional and at the discretion of the Secretary of State staff.