Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2008


Contact:


Paris Ervin 217.558.0517 (IDOT)
Mike Claffey 312.814.3957 (IDOT)
Marisa Kollias 312.814.4693 (IDOT)
Jeff Squibb 217.558.1546 (IDOA)

Harvest Season Begins; Motorists and Farmers Must Share the Road

Farmers are also reminded to get overweight permits

SPRINGFIELD – As harvest season gets underway throughout Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois Department of Agriculture today (IDOA) are reminding motorists that tractors and farm equipment are out on the roadways. Farmers are also reminded to get overweight permits during harvest season and they need to pay special attention to posted roads and bridges.

“I’m asking for the patience and understanding of motorists during the harvest season,” Acting Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “Because of the planting delays caused by heavy spring rains this year, farmers will have a very limited time in which to harvest their crops in order to get them in storage before the first frost. So, it's more important than ever that motorists be alert for slow-moving farm vehicles and share the roadway until the harvest is complete.”

In 2007, there were 4 fatalities involving crashes between cars and farm equipment. Over the past seven years there have been 1,751 crashes involving farm equipment on Illinois roads, resulting in 37 deaths and 502 injuries.
 

Vehicle vs. Farm Equipment Crashes

2007:   267 crashes   4 fatality    98 injuries
2006:   239 crashes   5 fatality   64 injuries
2005:   244 crashes   2 fatality   83 injuries
2004:   255 crashes   9 fatalities   105 injuries
2003:   232 crashes   9 fatalities   68 injuries
2002:   265 crashes   8 fatalities   84 injuries
2001:   249 crashes   6 fatalities   88 injuries

Farmers need to get permits allowing for overweight travel to and from fields and storage facilities. The permits allow them to be between 10 and 20 percent over legal weight depending on truck size. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed the overweight harvest permits into law in 2004 in order to help our farmers be more competitive globally by reducing overhead costs associated with the harvest.

“With a struggling economy and an increase in gas prices, this allows farmers to reduce the number of trips they have to make between their fields and elevators, which in turn will save time and fuel,” said IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees. “It’s also important that we preserve our valuable infrastructure and I urge farmers to make sure they are within the proper weight limits, especially on our posted roads and bridges.”

As with all permits for operating over-dimension and over-weight vehicles on public roads, the jurisdiction on whose roads the vehicle will be operated is the only authority that may issue the permit. This could mean that farmers may need two, three, or more permits for a single trip. It is possible for one jurisdiction to authorize another to issue permits on its behalf, which can be especially helpful to farmers when arranged among counties and townships. The jurisdictions and authorities you will need to contact for a permit are:
 

  • Township roads-Highway Commissioner

  • Road District Roads-Highway Commissioner

  • County Highways-County Engineer

  • City Streets-City Streets Department

  • State Highways-Illinois Department of Transportation

Farmers and grain haulers are encouraged to visit www.dot.state.il.us/tpublic.html#Truckers to get the most updated information on legal weight limits on specific routes and information on legal load bridges. National Farm Safety Week begins September 21.
 

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