If safety truly is a No. 1 priority in the agriculture industry, sometimes its members find themselves asking some tough questions. The latest to do so is the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA), who wants to know – should braking standards be under higher scrutiny for farm equipment being towed on public roadways?
“When that equipment enters the public roadways, several factors have to be considered, including size, weight, and some would argue most importantly, the speed at which the equipment is towed,” FEMA said in a recent statement.
In March, FEMA told members that a subcommittee of the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) looked at current requirements in ASAE S365.9 to those in other countries. They found significant conformity differences between several standards commonplace in Europe, including:
- No provisions to tow light-weight ag vehicles without breaks at speeds above 20 mph.
- No distinction between commodity trailers with variable transport loads and implements with fixed transport loads.
- No provisions for how the brake system interfaces between the towing and towed vehicles.
- No provisions for warning the operator when a brake system fails.
- No clearly addressed requirements for combination braking systems.
- More overall complexity for manufacturers and users due to “misalignment” between U.S. standards and standards in other countries.
“If your company manufactures slow-moving towed equipment that does not require a braking system, you may be significantly affected by this, and you may want to become directly involved before a formal proposal is submitted to ASABE for industry and public input,” FEMA warns.
The group has scheduled a briefing for Aug. 22 in Chicago, and is also preparing for two product council meetings later in November in San Diego. For more information, visit http://meeting.farmequip.org/.