Washington Changes Driver’s License Rules

The Washington legislature recently repealed an aggravatingly bureaucratic piece of red tape regarding farmers and commercial driver’s licenses.

Current driver’s license rules allow farmers to drive farm vehicles to transport farm products, supplies, machinery, or equipment, provided that they are travelling less than 150 miles. However, some ambiguity exists regarding the destination of farm products and whether a commercial driver’s license is required while operating farm vehicles.

Current Washington laws require a commercial driver’s license for any vehicle over 26,000 pounds.

Sponsors of the bill claim that it is unnecessarily bureaucratic and an example of regulatory red tape. In addition, they argue that the bill is unclear and the ambiguities of current regulations are costing farmers money. According to one supporter of the bill, State Senator Curtis King, the bill was requested by farmers and by state police, both of whom wanted government clarification on current driver’s license laws. The bill, King said, “takes some of the pressure off the farmers and also clarifies for the State Patrol when a commercial driver’s license is also needed.”

The new law would allow farmers to operate vehicles up to 40,000 pounds for up to 150 miles provided they are transporting farm products to other farms or to storage areas. Farmers who meet these regulations would not be required to have a commercial driver’s license.

Governor Christine Gregoire is expected to sign the bill.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer