Farm Fender Benders Force Fines
by: Benjamin Sebastian
“I live on a farm” says Derek Sample, the House sponsor of bill H-G-07 from Sesser Valier High School. Derek and his co-sponsors propose a bill to help eliminate collisions with farm equipment vehicles by enforcing fines upon offenders. Derek is passionate about this topic as it is quite personal. He states, “Every day, we try to drive our Ford equipment up and down the road, and we deal with crazy and reckless drivers.”
The bill proposes that any time farm vehicles are hit by another motorist, that motorist must pay a fine which would be given to the farmers. Derek wrote this bill because he wants to “bring awareness to the fact that there is equipment on the road, and people need to be cautious around it.” His bill proposes that fines anywhere between $500 to $1000 be put into place to encourage motorists to drive with care around valuable farm equipment. If individuals do not pay their fines, they will have their driving licences suspended until the fine is paid.
Derek emphasizes the importance of farmers and agriculture to Illinois. His bill brief states that each farmer provides food for 166 people each year, according to the American Farm Bureau. In addition, the Illinois Department of Agriculture reports that Illinois generates over 19 billion dollars annually in sales of agricultural products, 8.2 billion of which are exported globally, ranking us 3rd in the nation in international exports. As Derek puts it, he really wants to “help [people] to comprehend truly how much agriculture and farmers do mean to America and Illinois.”