[Author: Will Rogers, Director of Government Affairs, 03.2017 | Keywords: DOT, Fully Controlled Access Roads]
In February, an Association member was towing an anhydrous tool bar on Highway 20 in Hancock County when he was stopped by Iowa Department of Transportation’s (I-DOT) Motor Vehicle Enforcement. During the stop, the driver of the vehicle was issued a warning for “operating a vehicle on the curb of a controlled-access facility (highway).”
A fully controlled-access facility is a four-lane divided highway with access connections at interchanges with select public roads only and prohibits crossings at grade or direct access at driveway connections. The roads are typically identified with signage that includes a minimum and maximum speed limit and can be found on an official I-DOT Road Map represented by a divided red line between two exits.
Iowa Code Section 321.366 does not include an exemption for farm equipment and restricts the width of equipment being transported (it must fit entirely into one lane of the road). In addition, no portion of the equipment being towed can cross the center line, with the exception of passing, and may not protrude on the shoulder. Drivers must also maintain a minimum speed of 40 miles per hour. The violations schedule for Iowa Code Chapter 321.366 is $50.
And while it may seem counterintuitive, the Iowa Legislature and I-DOT have determined that it is less safe for equipment to be traveling in the same direction with traffic on a four lane divided highway, than traveling on a two lane road with less space and in an opposite direction.
Iowa Code Chapter 321.366 describes the acts which are prohibited on fully controlled-access facilities in Iowa. The Iowa code states that with the exception of emergency vehicles or road maintenance equipment, it is unlawful for a person to do any of the following on a fully controlled access facility:
- Drive a vehicle over, upon or across a curb, central dividing section or other separation or dividing line.
- Make a left turn or U-turn at a maintenance cross-over where an official sign prohibits the turn.
- Drive a vehicle, unless it’s in the proper lane provided for that purpose, in the proper direction and to the right of the central dividing curb, separation, section or line.
- Drive a vehicle into the facility from a local service road.
- Stop, park or leave vehicle standing, whether attended or unattended, upon the paved portion.
- Stop, park or leave vehicle standing, whether attended or unattended, upon the shoulders or the right-of-way, except at designated rest areas, in case of an emergency or other dire necessity.
At this time, the Association is asking for an amendment to the Iowa Code to exempt farm equipment from Chapter 321.366. We will likely have to wait until next year’s session to accomplish any changes. For additional information, please contact me at 800.622.0016 or [email protected]
About the Author
For more than nine years, Will has advocated for our members on both the state and national legislative fronts and has led I-NEDA’s educational efforts. In his free time, Will enjoys “dabbling” in politics, gardening, spending time with his wife and daughter, and managing his ever-growing collections (U.S. postage stamps, beer cans, comic books…).