AmericanFarm.com

NJFB: 16 and farm driving OK (Editorial)

(May 15, 2015) If you grew up on a farm, attaining the age of 16 once had a special place on the birthday calendar.
In many states, one’s 16th birthday marked a certain and celebratory coming of age.
At 16, you could get a license to drive on the farm.
You took the required tests and otherwise qualified for the operation of a motor vehicle.
But, in most cases, a 16-year-old holding a farm license could only drive on the farm and operate a vehicle with farm plates.
The New Jersey Farm Bureau is backing an effort to return to those good ol’ days in the Garden State.
NJFB has written to the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, Nicholas Sacco, D-Dist. 32, and asked that he post the 16-year-old driver’s license bill for committee consideration.
The bill is identified as S-2547, and it would reinstate the traditional driving privileges for 16-year-olds who operate farmer-plated vehicles.
The Assembly has given final approval to an identical bill; NJFB is hoping for further action in the Senate and final approval prior to the summer recess.
Teen driving privileges on the farm existed until the early years of this century and it is relatively small and narrow constituency — farm families with teenagers involved in the farm operation — which inspired S-2547.
Farm Bureau estimates that group totals a voting block of about 300 in New Jersey but the organization is “very determined to get it finished.”
Farm Bureau officials, noting that the companion bill in the Assembly passed 72-1, are pushing the chairman of the Senate committee to at least post the bill for consideration.
They believe they can win committee approval and get it to the Senate floor for action.
There, despite opposition from what is characterized as “the law and public safety bureaucracy” they believe they can get it into law.
A 16-year-old — male or female — on the farm can be a real asset, a farm hand, so to speak, who has a piece of the action.
As such, he or she accepts the fact that with that license in their pocket, they have an added responsibility to themselves, their families and the farm.