Slow-moving vehicles, such as farm tractors and other equipment, will be able to travel at higher speeds on New York roads.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Friday that raises the speed at which slow-moving vehicles can travel from 25 mph to 35 mph. The equipment must have the recognizable orange triangular sign indicating that it's a slow-moving vehicle.
The bill also directs the state transportation commissioner to develop a speed identification symbol which would inform other motorists of the maximum speed farm machinery, construction equipment or other slow-moving vehicles can travel.
The measure was sponsored by state Sen. Pam Helming and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner. Helming, R-Canandaigua, and Woerner, D-Round Lake, introduced the bill because construction equipment, farm tractors and other vehicles are being designed to travel at speeds higher than 25 mph.
Under existing state law, the orange slow-moving vehicle signage is only required for equipment that travels at speeds of no more than 25 mph.
"One of the major reasons why accidents occur with farm equipment is that non-farm drivers fail to adequately react and respond when driving around farm equipment," the bill's sponsors wrote. "For example, non-farm drivers often do not anticipate how slow farm equipment travels and therefore do not start to slow their vehicle as they approach the implements. Therefore, it is important to notify other drivers of the reduced speed."
The legislation was endorsed by the New York Farm Bureau. The interest group explained that it would protect non-farm drivers and operators of farm equipment who must use public roads.
By increasing the maximum speed requiring a slow-moving vehicle emblem, the farm bureau said more farm equipment would display the signs while traveling on roadways.
The legislation received bipartisan support in the state Legislature. It passed the state Senate by a 61-1 vote on June 4, and an amended version was approved by a 59-1 margin. The Assembly passed the amended bill by a 139-0 vote.
The new law will take effect 90 days after Cuomo signed the measure.