Friday, August 3, 2007

Oh Deere, the irony: Ohio farm tractors can speed up

We reported this week that Ohio has passed a law that will allow farm tractors to kick it up a notch when rolling down the road.

The old speed limit was 25 mph, but since some tractors are capable of going up to 42 mph now, they changed the law to basically let tractors go at whatever speed they are officially rated to do. The reason is to reduce rear-end collisions and reduce frustration of motorists stuck behind the slow-moving equipment.

This first sounds like a sane idea, as I have been stuck like everyone else behind a tractor creeping down a public road or state highway.

But, wait just a minute. This is Ohio, the state where OOIDA has tried for YEARS to make legislators understand that slower moving vehicles mixed up with faster ones just plain ain’t safe. I don’t know how many unsuccessful trips Todd Spencer and Ohio truckers have made to Columbus to talk with those who have the power to make Ohio highways safer.

And despite the fact that at least 40 states have uniform speed limits, Ohio STILL requires trucks to go 10 mph slower than cars – with the exception, thank God, of the turnpike.

Anyway, it looks like suddenly they embrace the idea that faster speeds should increase safety by reducing the likelihood of rear-end crashes and illegal passing. How ’bout that?

I was ranting around the office on how freakin’ ironic that was when I got an e-mail from Ken Becker, Texas life member, who read the tractor news and had exactly the same thoughts. I’ve known Ken for years.

Ken unloaded on Gov. Strickland, the legislators and supporters, which included the Ohio Highway Patrol. As Ken said, so it’s horrible when a farmer dies because some idiot runs up on them and can’t stop, but it’s OK when the same moron drives under the back of a big truck reined in to 55 mph on an Ohio interstate?

We can’t be the only ones finding it ironic that Ohio likes this safety argument for farm tractors, but can’t buy it for tractor-trailers. Drop me a line at sandi_soendker@landlinemag.com if you have an opinion.