During #harvest19, I shared a story about a frustrating situation. My family was moving equipment from one field to another. My brother was in the combine, my dad was in the semi-truck, and mom was pulling the corn head. A tire on the corn-head trailer blew. Mom managed to maneuver it just off the road. But the tire had to be changed. So my brother and dad set to the task.. Mom unhooked the trailer and moved the pick-up truck down the road a bit and turned on the hazard lights.
But cars continued to fly by. They didn’t reduce their speed. They didn’t move to the other lane. And they didn’t proceed with caution. I posted in exasperation asking people to move over and slow down when presented with this situation. That was my family on the road side and these drivers were creating a dangerous situation.
The post was popular among my followers, who widely shared it. Michigan State Senator Kim LaSata saw the story and was concerned. She understood how dangerous the situation was, so she decided to take action.
Senator LaSata introduced legislation requiring vehicles to react when disabled farm equipment is on the road. Senate Bill No. 77 requires drivers to reduce their speed by 10 mph below the posted speed limit and move into the other lane, when possible. If passed, police officers can ticket any drivers violating the requirements.
I’m frustrated we need legislation making people react this way. But I’m so thankful that Senator LaSata is doing something about it. It requires police officers to enforce it, but it’s a good start. If the legislation passes, there’s at least a consequence if people race by and put our farmers in danger.
Zaluckyj Farms hosted Senator LaSata at our farm this past fall shortly after this happened. She took a combine ride during corn harvest. And she discussed some of the challenges facing Michigan farmers, including inattentive drivers. It’s so awesome to have a local lawmaker who is willing to climb into a combine and meet farmers where they are. It’s really impressive and I appreciate that she actually took the time to listen and follow through with legislation to help.
I’ll continue to follow this bill as it makes its way through the process. Hopefully it will become law and start offering some protections to farmers soon!