Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) reestablishing certain driving privileges for teenagers working on a farm in New Jersey was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Oroho reestablishing certain driving privileges for teenagers working on a farm in New Jersey was signed into law. (Wikimedia Commons)
Under the legislation, A-535/S-2547, 16-year-olds working on a farm will again be eligible to obtain a special agricultural driver’s license allowing them to drive by themselves during daylight hours while operating a farm vehicle and doing farm-related business. To be eligible the teen would need to complete an approved behind-the-wheel driver training course.
“Teenagers growing up on a farm are often heavily involved in the family business from an early age and their ability to operate farm equipment and vehicles is a key part of the farming operation,” said Oroho. “Today’s bill signing reinstates important driving privileges that for decades were a great benefit to many farm families. Allowing 16-year-olds to again be able to operate a farm vehicle by themselves to drive from one field to another or deliver produce or pick up supplies will increase the role they can play on the farm and the productivity of the business as a whole.”
For decades prior to the graduated driver license program being enacted in 2001, New Jersey issued agricultural driver’s licenses and permits to allow 16-year-olds to operate registered farm vehicles for agricultural purposes. The new regulations, however, required that all 16-year-old permit holders be in the company and under the supervision of a driver over the age of 21.
“The 2001 regulation put a real restriction on the role that these teens could take on in the family farming operation,” Oroho added. “It is unpractical and unnecessary for a parent or other adult to be in the vehicle in these particular circumstances. Keeping teens involved in the family farming business is a key part of continuing the Garden State’s rich agricultural heritage.”
The bipartisan legislation, jointly sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), is strongly supported by the New Jersey Farm Bureau.