Sharing the road with slow-moving vehicles can be a precarious endeavor at times. In speaking with people across all of Chautauqua County, County Clerk candidate Larry Barmore has found that there is real concern about operating farm equipment on county highways in a safe manner. As the result of a tragic accident in Otsego county involving a slow-moving farm vehicle, changes to the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009.
Former Commissioner David J. Swarts of the Department of Motor Vehicles and chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee said, "Each year, there are many needless crashes involving slow moving vehicles of all types across our state."
NYS Department of Transportation Commis-sioner Astrid C. Glynn said, "This expanded use of emblems and lighting will help draw motorist's attention to slow-moving vehicles that may be sharing the roadway".
According to Barmore, the law requires all vehicles with a speed of less than 25 mph that are using public highways to display a slow-moving vehicle emblem in the center of the rear of the vehicle at a height of between two and six feet from the ground.
A tractor pulling a wagon or implement would be required to place an emblem on both the tractor and the wagon or implement. When a motorist sees a vehicle displaying the slow-moving vehicle orange and red triangle it is a warning to slow down and proceed with caution.
In conversation with many area residents, Barmore was made aware that many people are using these emblems for driveway markers which can make a driver become complacent when observing a SMV emblem. Several farmers have relayed stories of near accidents with automobiles to Barmore and they believe that the improper display of these emblems as driveway markers is contributing to the close calls. While taking a drive of about 45 minutes, Barmore was able to observe more than 40 SMV emblems being improperly used as driveway and mailbox markers.
In speaking to Sheriff Joseph Gerace, Barmore learned that displaying a slow-moving vehicle emblem improperly is against the law. According to Section 1114 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, no one may display an SMV emblem as a driveway or mailbox marker.
The law further states, "Every such prohibited sign, signal, or marking is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and any police officer or public authority is hereby empowered to remove the same or cause it to be removed without notice."
At Barmore's request, Sheriff Gerace has discussed this matter with the State Police and the Traffic Safety Board.
It is the hope of all that through education, those displaying the emblems improperly will remove them voluntarily to help make Chautauqua County safe for our farmers and everyone on the roads.