There are many things that Oneida County is known for, but one of the most major industries here is farming. We can't eat or really live without our farmers and we owe them a great deal of gratitude and respect. That means respecting them as they move from field to field to get the job done.

Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, who is also a farmer himself, held a press conference Thursday to emphasize the importance of using an abundance of caution when driving on rural roadways to prevent accidents with slow-moving tractors or implements. According to Sheriff Maciol,

This time of year, we are now beginning to see farm vehicles and equipment on the roads and motorists need to be ready to respond appropriately. These vehicles are extremely important to Oneida County’s agriculture community, which is our county’s largest industry.

Photo Courtesy of The Oneida County Sheriff's Office
Photo Courtesy of The Oneida County Sheriff's Office

The press conference was held "in-the-field" on State Route 12B in Clinton, New York. During the event the following instructions were given to motorists when they approach a slow-moving vehicle or piece of equipment in their travels.

  • Slow down immediately
  • Increase following distance to create a safety cushion
  • Be alert and watch for unexpected turns
  • Pass with care only when it is safe and legal to do so
  • Be aware that animal-powered vehicles may make unanticipated movements
  • Be aware that equipment in tow may sway on the road
  • Remember slow-moving vehicle operators may have poor visibility due to loads and equipment in tow.
Photo Courtesy of The Oneida County Sheriff's Office
Photo Courtesy of The Oneida County Sheriff's Office

The "Share the Road" Initiative was also discussed. It's not just motorists the announcements Thursday were directed at. Instructions were also given to tractor operators and horse and buggy drivers. It was reiterated that operators of the farm tractors & equipment should install the slow-moving vehicle triangle in the center of the back end of the vehicle, located two to six feet above the road, and kept clean and replaced when faded. Each piece of equipment must have one.

According to Sheriff Maciol, vehicles drawn by animals (horse & buggy) must display on the rear either a slow-moving vehicle triangle or a lighted lantern with a red lens at least four inches in diameter, with the center of the lens to be 42 inches above the ground, the lantern to be near the left edge of the vehicle. The vehicle also should have 72 square inches of a high quality white or whitish-gray reflective tape.

The event was sponsored by Clinton Tractor and the following individuals were in attendance for the press conference.

  • Mary Beth McEwen – Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County
  • Maryellen Baldwin – Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm Business Manager
  • Marilynn Collins – Cornell Cooperative Extension Dairy & Livestock Educator
  • Ben Simons - Oneida County Farm Bureau Representative Member & Local Farmer

It's important to use common sense and always stay vigilant. You never want to be the reason you, a family member or a farmer doesn't go home to their family.

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