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    Kids and tractors

    Ok, so I've been away from the site for a while, been busy with life. This weekend I had a run-in with a well intended neighbor, however he caused such an unsafe condition that I really am still quite upset over it.

    My 12 year old (and my 10 year old) has been getting more and more privileges when comes to what he can do when he is with me. I've taught him to ride a dirt bike, shoot guns and drive my 1025R around. I have not given them free reign to use it when they want or use it when I am not around. I have let them dig a little with the back-hoe but only on level ground and under close supervision at idle or just off of idle. I have let them carry tools in the bucket and drive it around the yard. Slow, steady...responsibly.

    I haven't let them cut the grass with it yet because I feel they aren't ready to handle some of the obstacles in the front yard, but perhaps this year they will be.

    So, while moving my small dozer (8000#) from my driveway to the shed I keep it in, I let my 12 year old drive it. I sat on the armrest and had foot access to the brake, hand access to both the transmission controls and the hydraulic controls. Using this as a good opportunity to give simple instruction of the basics in maneuvering a machine. I had already spent time with him going over how to start it, set the parking brake lift the front with the hyrdos... We were changing the oil and I wanted someone with me that could do these things in case I was unable to.

    Out of nowhere my older neighbor shows up yelling and screaming, flailing his arms -I literally had to back him off and let him know I wasn't going to be messed with. I was first concerned with his safety and what he was up to, then I immediately switched to Dad mode and ignored him focusing on my son and making sure he was not distracted. Once I got to the shed I took up words with him.

    I have known this man my whole life. One of his kids and I rode motorcycles together and hung out through high school. Another of his kids is still friends with my older sister...we've known each other for a long time.

    His issue was that it was totally illegal for my kid to be driving any of my equipment. (We never even came close to a road) He stated that he would call the cops if he ever saw it again and went on and on and on. I finally snapped and asked him about his background as a heavy equipment operator and asked him if he would have tolerated anyone distracting him while operating heavy equipment. He got a little sheepish and tried to change the subject.

    Anyhow, I am not looking for an argument to use, just wondering if anyone knows of any laws that apply to private use equipment. Everything I search for appears to be farm related, job related, road use related... I can't find anything on PA laws that say I was doing anything illegal. I think this is important as I am just getting ready to take on a project and was going to get my 12 year old to use the box grader pulling gravel off of my driveway and a few other "easy" functions. If there is a legal issue I would like to know about it. If not, I will need to be prepared to tell a long-time, well intentioned neighbor to keep his nose out of my business.

    Just for reference on the neighbor, they have babysat my kids when they were younger, I plow his driveway for the last 3 years and don't ask for anything in return. His wife is ill with dementia and Alzheimer's, he has a bad/weak heart... I don't really want to modify my relationship with him but if it comes to my safety and my kids I will do what I need to do.
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    So wait... you were on your private property, and your neighbor ran onto your property to tell you that your kid couldn't drive your bulldozer? Were you operating it in a commercial means or on a public road? If no, the only one that broke any laws was your neighbor, technically.

    You could put your son in an 80k pound semi (non-hazmat) and have him drive it around your property all you want and you wouldn't be breaking any laws, as long as he doesn't go on a public road.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Etkini View Post
    So wait... you were on your private property, and your neighbor ran onto your property to tell you that your kid couldn't drive your bulldozer? Were you operating it in a commercial means or on a public road? If no, the only one that broke any laws was your neighbor, technically.

    You could put your son in an 80k pound semi (non-hazmat) and have him drive it around your property all you want and you wouldn't be breaking any laws, as long as he doesn't go on a public road.
    That's kind of how I see it too. I really don't want to turn this into a "hate my neighbor" situation, that just isn't who I am. I am really looking to see if I missed something so that I don't look stupid in the end.

    My property, not commercial, not on a road or other state/federal right of way or public access... Just my personal equipment on my personal property with my biological children. Pretty sure I am not breaking any laws and if I were I would be lobbying to get them changed.

    Like I said, just looking to avoid an issue or at least be armed with a polite response like "Feel free to call the police, I will make sure they inform you of the legal perspective before they go".

    I really, REALLY don't want to go nuclear and tell him I will be issuing an order of trespass or any kind of PFA. I really want to solve this amicably and continue to be good neighbors. I like my neighborhood, I have lived there my whole life. Even with his meddling, I know he was doing it from what he felt was a safety issue and out of genuine concern.
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    In today's world you need to be careful when it comes to your own kids more than you do with someone else's.
    In my opinion, you are in the right, but that does not make you right in the eyes of state agencies. If the cops are called or worse yet, children's services are called, your kids could be off to foster care then you have to fight to get them back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBarn View Post
    Ok, so I've been away from the site for a while, been busy with life. This weekend I had a run-in with a well intended neighbor, however he caused such an unsafe condition that I really am still quite upset over it.

    My 12 year old (and my 10 year old) has been getting more and more privileges when comes to what he can do when he is with me. I've taught him to ride a dirt bike, shoot guns and drive my 1025R around. I have not given them free reign to use it when they want or use it when I am not around. I have let them dig a little with the back-hoe but only on level ground and under close supervision at idle or just off of idle. I have let them carry tools in the bucket and drive it around the yard. Slow, steady...responsibly.

    I haven't let them cut the grass with it yet because I feel they aren't ready to handle some of the obstacles in the front yard, but perhaps this year they will be.

    So, while moving my small dozer (8000#) from my driveway to the shed I keep it in, I let my 12 year old drive it. I sat on the armrest and had foot access to the brake, hand access to both the transmission controls and the hydraulic controls. Using this as a good opportunity to give simple instruction of the basics in maneuvering a machine. I had already spent time with him going over how to start it, set the parking brake lift the front with the hyrdos... We were changing the oil and I wanted someone with me that could do these things in case I was unable to.

    Out of nowhere my older neighbor shows up yelling and screaming, flailing his arms -I literally had to back him off and let him know I wasn't going to be messed with. I was first concerned with his safety and what he was up to, then I immediately switched to Dad mode and ignored him focusing on my son and making sure he was not distracted. Once I got to the shed I took up words with him.

    I have known this man my whole life. One of his kids and I rode motorcycles together and hung out through high school. Another of his kids is still friends with my older sister...we've known each other for a long time.

    His issue was that it was totally illegal for my kid to be driving any of my equipment. (We never even came close to a road) He stated that he would call the cops if he ever saw it again and went on and on and on. I finally snapped and asked him about his background as a heavy equipment operator and asked him if he would have tolerated anyone distracting him while operating heavy equipment. He got a little sheepish and tried to change the subject.

    Anyhow, I am not looking for an argument to use, just wondering if anyone knows of any laws that apply to private use equipment. Everything I search for appears to be farm related, job related, road use related... I can't find anything on PA laws that say I was doing anything illegal. I think this is important as I am just getting ready to take on a project and was going to get my 12 year old to use the box grader pulling gravel off of my driveway and a few other "easy" functions. If there is a legal issue I would like to know about it. If not, I will need to be prepared to tell a long-time, well intentioned neighbor to keep his nose out of my business.

    Just for reference on the neighbor, they have babysat my kids when they were younger, I plow his driveway for the last 3 years and don't ask for anything in return. His wife is ill with dementia and Alzheimer's, he has a bad/weak heart... I don't really want to modify my relationship with him but if it comes to my safety and my kids I will do what I need to do.
    Hi, while I am nowhere near PA, I'd like to weigh in on this. I have had a couple of similar experiences although just a little diffrent. There is a deeded access road through my property, and I don't allow unlicensed drivers or vehicles to use it. My suggestion is, if you have a friend or relative who is a police officer or lawyer, judge, etc., offer to sit down with your neighbor and discuss the situation between the three of you so that both of you are aware of the legalities and can continue your neighbourly relationship. On a side note, I spent a lot of time on my relatives farms as a kid. We were taught to drive a tractor/truck as soon as our feet could reach the pedals. Those lessons have done me well over the years. I was one of the few people at work who knew how to drive a split-shift transmission, operate a caterpillar tractor, and drive/operate a number of other machines. Those are great lessons that you are teaching your kids, and they are memories that they will have for the rest of their lives. I hope that you and your neighbor can come to an understanding and that those lessons can continue for years to come. Good Luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisR View Post
    In today's world you need to be careful when it comes to your own kids more than you do with someone else's.
    In my opinion, you are in the right, but that does not make you right in the eyes of state agencies. If the cops are called or worse yet, children's services are called, your kids could be off to foster care then you have to fight to get them back.
    This sets off a whole other argument that probably is best left alone. I will say this, without warrant or supporting law it would not happen. I have a respect for the law and I also know where I stand in it's eyes. Police have a job to do but so do I.

    This is the main reason I am researching this now. I want to know who to tell what and on what grounds. That would also include a visit from the local police officer. I have no qualms about telling people that don't live in my house to get lost. I don't usually do it, I am a friendly guy and cut a lot of slack to people. If pushed however, badge or not, if you aren't supposed to be on my property you will leave if you don't have a warrant. It isn't being rude, it is the law.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotYourGrandfathersDeere View Post
    Hi, while I am nowhere near PA, I'd like to weigh in on this. I have had a couple of similar experiences although just a little diffrent. There is a deeded access road through my property, and I don't allow unlicensed drivers or vehicles to use it. My suggestion is, if you have a friend or relative who is a police officer or lawyer, judge, etc., offer to sit down with your neighbor and discuss the situation between the three of you so that both of you are aware of the legalities and can continue your neighbourly relationship. On a side note, I spent a lot of time on my relatives farms as a kid. We were taught to drive a tractor/truck as soon as our feet could reach the pedals. Those lessons have done me well over the years. I was one of the few people at work who knew how to drive a split-shift transmission, operate a caterpillar tractor, and drive/operate a number of other machines. Those are great lessons that you are teaching your kids, and they are memories that they will have for the rest of their lives. I hope that you and your neighbor can come to an understanding and that those lessons can continue for years to come. Good Luck!
    The whole point of what I do with my kids is to prepare them to be ready to meet the world. I am amazed at how many kids don't know the basics of life. I am a programmer by trade, I work with electronics, software, computers..... but I can run a lathe, mill and grinder, I can weld, I can run an excavator, back-hoe, dozer, chainsaw, forklift, fly a plane.... I don't often find myself being ambushed by vendors when I go to buy something. I know the value, I know the worth, I know the effort. Many a time I have decided that my time was worth X and I would just do it myself or my time was worth Y and someone else should do it.

    I am not a prepper, not a doomsdayer.... I just want my kids to experience as much of life as they can while they can so they can make informed decisions of how to set their path in life. If they never have the need to run equipment because of their choices I would have no problems with that. At some point in their lives they may have a project and say hey, I'll just rent an excavator and do it myself or be able to help a friend out...whatever, at least they will have some idea of what it takes.

    It isn't just with equipment, it is really a goal of mine with everything we do in life.
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    These things can get kind of goofy. Here in MA we have a "Hoisting License". If you operate any equipment that can lift things higher than 10 ft OR lift more than 500 lbs OR the equipment can move 1/4 cubic yard of material at a time, you are required to have a Hoisting License in order to operate the equipment. If you want to rent a skid steer, you either have to have a license or obtain a temp license through the rental facility.

    In order to get a license you have to have a valid motor vehicle operator's license, be 18 years old and pass a DOT physical (and pay the fees of course!)

    There is an exemption to the requirement for "agricultural equipment" but the State defines that as equipment used in the operation of a farm that is established as a business.


    So where does that leave those of us who have equipment that can lift things that weigh over 500 lbs but don't have a business or farm? From what I can get out of the State, we're supposed to have a hoisting license per the law. But the State has no hoisting license that covers agricultural equipment so there is no license to get.

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    Just my $.02: I've taught criminal justice in Ohio for the last 30 years. There is nothing "illegal" about allowing/teaching your children to operate equipment on your own property. I'm not sure if you have a large property/farm, but kids are taught to operate machinery within their age/ability all the time. No driver's license is required to operate any equipment on your own property (OH and PA).

    Ohio Law 4507.02
    (A)
    (1) No person shall permit the operation of a motor vehicle upon any public or private property used by the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking knowing the operator does not have a valid driver's license issued to the operator by the registrar of motor vehicles under this chapter or a valid commercial driver's license issued under Chapter 4506. of the Revised Code.

    The private property referred to is parking lots for businesses, shopping centers etc. open to the public, not residential private property. Motor vehicle is a registered vehicle for travel upon highways, not farm or construction equipment.

    Under Pennsylvania 75 PaC.S.A. section 1501:
    (a) General rule.--No person, except those expressly exempted, shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway or public property in this Commonwealth unless the person has a driver's license valid under the provisions of this chapter.  As used in this subsection, the term “public property” includes, but is not limited to, driveways and parking lots owned or leased by the Commonwealth, a political subdivision or an agency or instrumentality of either.

    Looks like both statutes are about the same.

    But, we all understand that in today's world, people have become overly concerned about children's safety. I drank from a garden hose, rode a bicycle without a helmet (not to mention a dozen other things that should have killed me) and and I'm still living.

    I'm sure you can have a reasonable conversation with your neighbor - have patience. We just let my neighbor's 10 year old drive the 1025 with a trailer connected to it between our houses and everyone survived. You were also closely supervising your son in the operation of the equipment and prepared to take any necessary action to prevent a harmful event. How else can kids learn?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBarn View Post
    That's kind of how I see it too. I really don't want to turn this into a "hate my neighbor" situation, that just isn't who I am. I am really looking to see if I missed something so that I don't look stupid in the end.

    My property, not commercial, not on a road or other state/federal right of way or public access... Just my personal equipment on my personal property with my biological children. Pretty sure I am not breaking any laws and if I were I would be lobbying to get them changed.

    Like I said, just looking to avoid an issue or at least be armed with a polite response like "Feel free to call the police, I will make sure they inform you of the legal perspective before they go".

    I really, REALLY don't want to go nuclear and tell him I will be issuing an order of trespass or any kind of PFA. I really want to solve this amicably and continue to be good neighbors. I like my neighborhood, I have lived there my whole life. Even with his meddling, I know he was doing it from what he felt was a safety issue and out of genuine concern.
    I would take this approach...
    Let him show you where in the law it says that you were in violation.
    Tell him you want to make sure you are operating within the law (like any responsible father).
    I wouldn’t challenge him to call the police.

    In Minnesota, your kids at any age can operate any farm equipment on your own farm...including driving tractors on public roadways.
    When kids are working on someone else’s farm, there are a whole slew of things that kids under 16 can’t do
    Here is a link... and another one...you should be able to find something similar for PA.

    In short, this approach is a polite way to tell him to pound sand
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