by Dick Hall-Sizemore
State law exempts from registration fees trucks, trailers, and other motor vehicles, used solely for farm purposes either on highways near a farmer’s land or for hauling farm products to market (see here and here). This is one of the most abused Code provisions.
The picture above was taken in my neighborhood. Take my word for it: there are no farms anywhere close.
This picture was taken on one of the main streets in Richmond or Henrico (I forget which). Unless the driver of that truck was taking a sofa that he had grown on his farm to market to sell it, he was violating the law. Violation of the statutes is a traffic infraction and punishable by a fine up to $250.
Until 2022, law enforcement officers were authorized to require drivers of vehicles claiming this exemption to provide the address of the lands owned or leased by the vehicle’s owner and used for agricultural purposes and the address of the vehicle’s owner. I doubt that happened often.
Beginning July 1 of this year, persons wishing to operate farm vehicles without regular license tags must attach an official placard provided by DMV to the vehicle. To obtain the placard, the owner of the vehicle must file an application with DMV identifying the farm and the commodities that will be transported on the exempt vehicle along with a statement that the vehicle will be used only for the exempt purposes set out in law.
If this requirement is enforced, there should be fewer “farm use” vehicles seen in urban areas.