Over the past few weeks, many agriculture associations have expressed concern that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) had proposed a regulation that would require farmers and ranchers to get a commercial driver's license (CDL) in order to, for example, drive tractors on public roads or haul livestock on public roads with a truck/trailer combo exceeding 26,000 pounds.
Ohio Agricultural Law Blog and Brownfield Ag News reported earlier this week that the stories concerning the pending DOT regulation were just “rumors” and that the DOT never proposed a law requiring farmers and ranchers to get a CDL.
I researched this issue breifely and so far have not been able to locate a copy of any proposed DOT rule on the agricultural CDL topic. If you have a copy, please let me know. Regardless of whether or not a rule was actually proposed or pending, my research indicates that the DOT clearly did ask for public comment on the subject of whether current CDL agricultural exemptions existing under state law were appropriate.
The DOT's request for public comment, Docket No. FMCSA-2011-0146, can be found here.
According to several stories, the public had until the extended deadline of August 1, 2011 to submit comments to the DOT on this issue. According to DOT, the agency received about 1,700 comments from the agricultural community and members of Congress.
According to this DOT press release from August 10, 2011:
No regulations will be proposed for any new safety requirements or changes to the rules governing the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm.”
Regardless of whether the proposed CDL regulation was just a rumor, this news is certainly a relief for Texas farmers and ranchers as well as horse owners who pull large horse or stock trailers.
Follow me on Twitter @alisonmrowe