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[Author: Mark Othmer, I-NEDA, Nebraska Field Director, 2013 | Keywords: Nebraska Legislation, Trucking, Oversize Loads]

Every spring, it seems like our office receives several calls from dealers concerning oversize loads when trucking equipment. Dealers often call when they are busy delivering new equipment customers purchased over the winter months. Since equipment continues to get wider and longer, dealers need to ask questions about the legality of delivering this equipment without breaking any laws. Now there’s some really good news for farm equipment dealers delivering oversize equipment to their customers. As long as he/she delivers equipment in the normal course of doing business, there is no width limitation on the equipment a farm equipment dealer can haul.

That’s right! As long as you are a farm equipment dealer making a delivery to your customer, you can haul or tow any width of equipment, as long as it is done during daylight hours and off the interstate highway system. A sergeant with the Carrier Enforcement Division of the Nebraska State Patrol explained it to me this way, “If a dealer in Falls City wants to tow a 24’ disc to Chadron, all he has to do is hook on to it and go – as long as he stays off the interstate highway system and is only on the road during daylight hours.”

Nebraska code section 60-6288, paragraph 2, subsection (e) explains this special exemption. It states that “No vehicle which exceeds a total outside width of one hundred two inches, including any load but excluding designated safety devices, shall be permitted on any highway which is not a portion of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, except that such prohibition shall not apply to: farm equipment dealers hauling, driving, delivering, or picking up farm equipment, including portable livestock buildings not exceeding fourteen feet in width, or implements of husbandry during daylight hours.” It is important to note that the fourteen feet width limitation applies only to livestock buildings, not farm equipment.

Where’s the confusion coming from?

Confusion usually sets in when a dealer thinks he needs a permit to move a large piece of equipment and contacts the permit office. Often, the dealer fails to identify himself as a farm equipment dealer, so the officer quotes commercial carrier rules, which are more stringent on oversize loads. Another factor that can confuse the issue is when a dealer hires another trucking firm or dealer to haul a piece of equipment for him. The exemption does not apply when a third party enters the picture.

What about over-length equipment?

The length limitation in Nebraska is 65 feet, measuring from the end of the truck to the end of the equipment being towed. However, an exemption does apply for farm equipment dealers hauling equipment in the county where their business is based or any adjoining county to them.

Are there any over-weight exemptions?

There are no over-weight exemptions, so the same rules apply to farm equipment dealers as any commercial carrier.

So, I can hook on to anything and tow it anywhere?

Dealers should be aware that if they haul, drive or tow over-width or over-length loads, they must continue to comply with the normal rules of the road. For example, the outside edges of over-width loads and ends of over-length loads must be flagged. Proper signage must also be displayed. Most importantly – stay to the right of the highway centerline. All other safety regulations pertaining to trucking must also be followed.

I encourage all dealers to obtain a copy of Nebraska Statute 60-6288, which details the over-width exemption for farm equipment dealers. Add it to a file that your truck driver carries. While the possibility exists that your truck might be stopped by a field officer for an over-width violation, if your driver has a copy of this law handy and presents it to the field officer in a non-confrontational manner, a citation should be avoided. If you would like a copy of this law, please contact the Association office.