Friday, July 29, 2011

Changes Down on the Farm?

This report tells us that the DOT is considering a requirement that operators of farm equipment have a Commercial Driver's License and follow the rules that apply to other CDL operators. The story tells something of the background of the operation of farm machinery in the US, that family members, often as young as twelve, have been using powerful equipment to plow, cultivate, harvest and process crops. Of course, farming also had a juvenile component before mechanization. Kids drove horses and oxen centuries before the introduction of the tractor.

No doubt the ostensible reason for considering this policy is safety, both for the operators of the equipment and the public at large. Isn't that always the case? That's why there's a picture of a baby drowning glued to the side of a 5-gallon paint bucket. That's why you'll be arrested for driving without a fastened seat belt. And there's no doubt that farming can be a dangerous pursuit. Every year we hear about farmers entangled in equipment with a resulting loss of limb or life. So tractor drivers should be registered just like pistol owners. Thank goodness for the state and its concern for our safety and well-being.

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