Question:

As a father of three young children, one of whom enjoys riding on tractors more than anything else in the world, I was curious what the laws are regarding passengers on farm tractors (over the road). Many newer tractors have a 2nd seat with a seatbelt in the cab. Is there a certain age they need to be to ride along over the road in this seat? Further, what age do they need to be to drive on their own over the road? I’ve heard 14, 16, there is no law on it, etc., but never seen or heard anything from what I consider to be a reliable source.

Answer:

Answer: This is a good question on an important topic. As Minnesotans, there is a good chance most of us will encounter farm equipment on the highway several times during the year. Any vehicle equipped with seat belts and other safety devices should be utilized and done so properly. The tractor manufacture has recommendations about proper procedure for the driver and passengers and should be followed.

There is no age requirement for driving a farm tractor. There also are no state vehicle driver’s license requirements for operating tractors and other farm implements in Minnesota. However according to the University of Minnesota – Extension Service, kids under 16 working OFF of THEIR parents’ farm must be certified to operate farm equipment on the highway or in the field. Also, remember that even though it may be legal to allow your 7 year-old to drive a tractor, allowing this activity puts the child (and other drivers on public roadways) in great danger.

In a five year period (2015-2019), 14 people lost their lives in farm equipment crashes. It’s important to teach our children the importance of riding smart on such equipment and never messing around. Riding these vehicles and not taking safety precautions can be just as dangerous as riding in a vehicle if you don’t take safety seriously.

For more information, please go to the University of Minnesota – Extension Service with information from the National Ag Safety Database, including training. http://nasdonline.org/document/1507/d001300/minnesota-regulations-for-hiring-farm-workers-under-the.html

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow - Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205 or by email at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us

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