BRANT, NY (WKBW) — Some farmers say they are easy targets for being pulled over for vehicle violations. But not all farm vehicles need the same standards as commercial vehicles.
It’s harvest season for the MCR Farm in Brant and that means transporting fresh produce. But Martin Rosiek says he’s frustrated with getting pulled over by Erie County Sheriff’s deputies who think his vehicle is in violation of DMV laws.
In farming you have options for your vehicle. Register it as commercial, agriculture or farm vehicle. Rosiek has different plates for different vehicles.
Rosiek’s farm truck has a farm plate. It is limited in its travel, but can be used for harvesting, however, an Erie County Sheriff deputy recently pulled the driver over and ticketed her.
At first glance there’s no inspection or registration sticker on the windshield, however, a farm plate doesn’t require it. The registration is located on the front plate. But Rosiek's wife was ticketed for lack of a rear-view mirror, which he claims is not required.
“The rules are that you can have that truck on the road for six months and they come with a blue card and they have to drive a specific route and don’t inspect that – you’re in charge of your own inspection – you have to have – basic safety equipment – lights and reflectors – but it’s not treated as a commercial vehicle,” explained Rosiek.
We asked the Erie county sheriff’s office to explain why the vehicle was ticketed. In a statement, a spokesperson said in this particular incident the vehicle is "required to have a rearview mirror as per New York State vehicle and traffic law and NYS AG law." It went on to state the vehicle is "not an exempt vehicle/equipment."
The statement also cited important safety issues patrolled by deputies.
"The Sheriff’s Office main patrol districts cover much of the county’s farming communities. The Sheriff’s Office realizes the importance of the farm industry to the local economy and respects the hard work done by the local farmers. Deputies often encounter farm vehicles on the roadways and provide assistance and guidance to vehicle and traffic law. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t target farmers or their vehicles, rather we target public safety, and if there is an incident of a motorist/operator creating a safety issue, we encourage Deputies to use their discretion to resolve the matter. The Deputy who issued the ticket is assigned to the Sheriff’s traffic unit as well as being a certified truck inspector. Ultimately, the Deputy’s decision to issue the ticket was based on a traffic safety issue."
But the state DMV rules for a farm class vehicle says the following "An inspection is not required for farm registration, but the Vehicle & Traffic Law requires that farm vehicles be equipped with signaling devices, reflectors and lamps that are in good working condition."
“It has no stickers on the front windshield and usually that why my farm trucks get pulled over because it looks like a cub van, but it’s a farm plated farm vehicle and we run into the trouble explaining this on the roadside,” remarked Rosiek.
Rosiek travels from his farm in Brant to more farmland he operates in Cattaraugus County, but he says he doesn’t get pulled over in that region.
“Sometimes when we pass a state trooper in the county, we get nervous because you think they’re going to see that we don’t have the stickers on that truck, but then they wave to us. They seem to know we are operating in farm country and that’s a farm vehicle,” Rosiek described.
As for the ticket, Rosiek says they will head to court to protest it. Rosiek tells us in the past, the violations issued for his vehicles have been tossed out by a judge.