Tractor and implement on roadwayThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) finally published its rule governing lighting and marking for agricultural equipment on Wednesday after almost four full years of deliberation.

The rule, which adopts the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) standard as a new national minimum standard, can be found here. In the rule, the DOT adopts ASABE Standard 279.14, or any successor to that standard.

The rule was published to the Federal Register on Wednesday morning and supersedes existing state standards regarding lighting and marking for agricultural equipment. Manufacturers must be in compliance with the rule in one year, on June 22, 2017.

The rule was published following considerable effort by AEM urging the DOT to release the proposed standard. AEM enlisted the assistance of Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) as well as Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) in urging the DOT to release the rule. The rule, as published, notes that rulemaking officials met with AEM and other manufacturers in developing the standard.

The rule has been in limbo since Congress passed the MAP-21 highway bill in 2012. That legislation required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish a federal rule regarding lighting and marking for agricultural equipment.

Unlike many federal agency rules, the lighting and marking standard is effective immediately and is not subject to the typical public comment period. In the published rule, NHTSA claimed authority to adopt the rule without advance notice or a published comment period because MAP-21 gave it a statutory mandate to act.