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  1. #1
    Bronze Member marxman's Avatar
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    Default Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    Tractor owners of MA (well anyone who might know, really),

    What are the regulations for a CUT owner to drive their tractor on the road?

    Basically my in-laws live 3-4miles down the road from me. I would love to be able to take my tractor to their house to help out with chores. I realize that I could get a trailer and haul it to their house... but it would be SO much more fun to put the hazard lights on and drive it to their house

    I've seen a handful of tractors on the roads in the area before.. my question is, do i need a special license, special registration, parents permission ?

    I would rather avoid a low speed chase with a local police unit.

  2. #2
    Elite Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    NH TN 55, Kubota B2320 & RTV 900, Bad Boy Outlaw 61" ZTR

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA


  3. #3
    Silver Member
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    Central Massachusetts
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    L3800 HST

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    As a fellow tractor owner I can understand your situation, it would certainly be easier for us to simply drive short distances over the roadways. As a state trooper though I want to clarify that the law mentioned earlier is designed to allow "farmers" to move equipment from one of their fields to another without having to register everything they own. There is certainly some room for a police officer to use discretion in enforcing the law but you should be aware that a worse case scenario is you could be stopped and charged w/ operating an unregistered motor vehicle ($100 fine and seven years of insurance surcharges) and operating an uninsured motor vehicle (criminal charge requiring a court appearance and possible additional fine and/or jail time) and a costly tow of your tractor off the road. Another thing to factor in is if you should be involved in a traffic accident on the road there would be insurance liabilities to consider.
    Good luck and safe tractoring.
    L3800 HST, Landpride 72" rotary cutter, Wallenstein BX42 chipper, FEL, BH77, 42" pallet forks

  4. #4
    Bronze Member marxman's Avatar
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    North Eastern MA
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    Kubota B3200

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by redsox1 View Post
    As a fellow tractor owner I can understand your situation, it would certainly be easier for us to simply drive short distances over the roadways. As a state trooper though I want to clarify that the law mentioned earlier is designed to allow "farmers" to move equipment from one of their fields to another without having to register everything they own. There is certainly some room for a police officer to use discretion in enforcing the law but you should be aware that a worse case scenario is you could be stopped and charged w/ operating an unregistered motor vehicle ($100 fine and seven years of insurance surcharges) and operating an uninsured motor vehicle (criminal charge requiring a court appearance and possible additional fine and/or jail time) and a costly tow of your tractor off the road. Another thing to factor in is if you should be involved in a traffic accident on the road there would be insurance liabilities to consider.
    Good luck and safe tractoring.
    Thanks redsox1 I was hoping I would get an answer from "law enforcement". I might have a look at some local bylaws and see what they say about it and their leniency. I'm crossing town lines as well... Dukes of Hazard style

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    L3800 HST

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    As they say, "keep the rubber side down". Feel free to PM me w/ questions if you need to.
    L3800 HST, Landpride 72" rotary cutter, Wallenstein BX42 chipper, FEL, BH77, 42" pallet forks

  6. #6
    Platinum Member atgreene's Avatar
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    Sebago, Maine
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    2005 TB135 Excavator with Thumb, Quick Attach System, Ripper tooth, 3' Hydrauic Tilt Clean-up Bucket, Skeleton Bucket, 1986 Kubota 4150 with Loader and Quick Attach with Woods Forks, JD B, 1963 IH 504

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    In Maine you have a choice, farm use from farm to farm is legal, no paperwork required.

    Commercial/private use, register it, insure it and drive all you want. I'm sure MA is similar. Find out how much for a plate.

    My only other concern, and I'll try to be delicate here, would be the driving ability of those around you. Having driven all over my hometown while the "vacationers from away" are out and about, not sure i'd want to be caught dead driving a tractor on Mass roads. Just saying.
    2009 Kubota M7040, cab
    2005 Takeuchi 135 excavator
    1963 Oshkosh 4819
    2013 GMC 3500 6.0 w 9-2 Boss V Fisher poly Sander.
    IH 504, JD B, Ford 2n, Farmall cub, Gehl 1475 Round Baler, JD 640 rake, Vermeer 2500 Bale Wrapper, Zetor 185 Drum Mower, New Idea 217 manure Spreader, Kuhn 4 star tedder, Farmi 501 winch.
    Local 740 Portland ME
    20 Scottish Highland Beef Cattle, 3 Herefords, 3 Goats, 2 Alpacas, 2 Llama, 140+- layers, and lots of maple trees.
    Facebook: Phillip View Farm

  7. #7
    Bronze Member marxman's Avatar
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    Kubota B3200

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by atgreene View Post
    My only other concern, and I'll try to be delicate here, would be the driving ability of those around you. Having driven all over my hometown while the "vacationers from away" are out and about, not sure i'd want to be caught dead driving a tractor on Mass roads. Just saying.
    Agree totally... the only saving grace is the fact that its only a short distance, and the roads are not that busy. Not saying the drivers will be any better... there will just be less of them

  8. #8
    Bronze Member marxman's Avatar
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    Kubota B3200

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    OK so I found this section for MA DMV. I'm not sure I would qualify as a farmer with 2 Bee Hives and a Hobby Farm. I think this is only for "real" farmers.

    Massachusetts RMV - Farm Plate Information

    I guess a trailer is the way to go, probably safer for all concerned.

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    Here in CT, you can drive your tractor on public, non-limited access roads with no registration if you're going from one field you're working to another and to your farm. BUT, you need to have a working farm. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you can qualify if you've got two horses and a cow; it means you've registered with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) as a commercial farm, applied for a Sales Tax Exemption Permit, and generate revenues equal to or greater than $2,500 per year from operating the farm. If you meet these requirements, the DRS will issue you farm plates. In addition, you MUST have an SMV sign on your tractor. If it's not visible because you have a rear implement there (e.g. hay wagon, baler, etc.), that attachment must have a visible SMV sign also. It's also highly recommended that you turn on your headlights and 4-way flashers if so equipped. In addition, you need a farm insurance policy to insure you for liability while on a public road. Most homeowner's policies only cover you while on your own personal property.

    If you can't conform to the above requirements (like if you don't have a working farm), you always have the option of registering the tractor as a commercial motor vehicle, just as you do with your truck. That's about a $90/year cost. Of course, your homeowner's insurance doesn't cover you for damage or liability, so you need to add your tractor to your car insurance policy for some additional fee. If we're helping a neighbor move rocks, loam, or some such, I don't think we'd be covered for that via the farm or the automotive policy because we're now doing construction -- so you'd need to check that with your insurance company.

    I spoke with our resident state trooper last week and he gave similar advice to that of redsox1, namely, it's in the officer's discretion. He indicated that few police officers will bother a responsible citizen driving properly and being reasonably cautious, especially for short distances from the tractor owner's property.

    No matter which way you go, what bothers me most is the liability exposure we have. I'm a businessman and I've seen too many times how the best of intentions in helping a friend, family member, or neighbor can sometimes turn into a nightmare because of a freak accident or digging up a cable and such. So, I cringe when I think of being exposed to thousands, tens of thousands, or more dollars of risk. Without the protection of a corporation or LLC, it's our actual homes and investments that are exposed to a lawsuit -- scary!

    The foregoing hasn't stopped me from helping a neighbor, but it shore makes me enjoy it less and keeps me within a few houses of my property. For what it's worth, our local trooper said the specifics of the law vary by state, but most were quite similar.

    I hope this helps.

  10. #10
    Gold Member BeeferMan's Avatar
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    North Central MA
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    Case 1194, Ford 641, NH TT75A

    Default Re: Driving a CUT on the roads in MA

    As a longtime holder of Farm plates in MA, I'd suggest that if all you have is the tractor that you look into commercial plates. Back when I got Farm plates, they were good for anything you towed with the vehicle the pate was attached to, such as a livestock trailer, now something like a baler is ok, but the above mentioned trailer is supposed to have its own plate. While a site inspection was required even back then by the State Police, they really wanted to just make sure you were truly involved in the ag business - I don't think the trooper ever got out of his car. Now I've heard of some people really getting hassled. I never registered my farm as a local business until recently the RMV decided this was a requirement, along with a Federal Tax ID number. Plates used to be $10 each plate, now they're $100 a plate. You need to have a tax sticker for every vehicle the plate will go on to prove you've paid sales tax - that includes tractors, which last I checked in MA didn't qualify as "ag equipment" - go figure. Towns used to ignore excise tax on vehicles that used Farm plates, just working off the lists of registered vehicles provided by the DMV - now many are going after each and every vehicle (or more accurately, going after the tax on each and every vehicle) you have identified with the RMV as potentially using the Farm plate on.

    And on it goes, as with trying to run any business in MA, when it comes to state government, every year it costs you more and more to get less and less...
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Case 1194, NH TT75A, Ford 600, Bobcat A300, balers, rakes, mowers, tedders, spreaders and lots of other toys as well...

    - Jim

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