The Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) Emblem

— Written By Melena Dillingham
en Español / em Português

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The Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem was developed in the early 1960s in response to a 10-year retrospective study that identified unusually high rear-end collision rates on rural roads. Ken Harkness, an engineer at The Ohio State University in the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering developed a research proposal, oversaw the emblem’s development, and in 1962, The Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company sponsored the initial public exposure by driving a tractor outfitted with the new emblem from Portland, Maine, to San Diego, California.

Carlton Zink of Deere and Company embraced the SMV with great enthusiasm and played a key role in advocating the adoption of the emblem by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE). In 1967 the Canadian Standards Association adopted the SMV as a CSA Standard, and in 1971 the emblem was the first ASAE standard to become nationally ratified by the American Nation Standards Institute (ANSI).

SMV emblem

The SMV is a 12” high triangle composed of a bright orange fluorescent center triangle, which can be seen during the day by motorists from more than 1,000 feet, and a red reflective border that catches beams from approaching headlights during low visibility conditions. Emblems should be mounted in the center rear of any vehicle traveling at less than 25 miles per hour and covered or removed when the equipment is loaded onto a vehicle for transport that will travel over 25 mph.

SMV’s are not to be used on stationary objects, such as loading docks, mailboxes, or fence posts.

When you approach a vehicle with an SMV, reduce your speed and stay back. Pass only when it is safe to do so. Remember, farm equipment can be longer or wider than driving vehicles, and field entrance turns can be hidden. Horse-drawn carriages can be spooked by the passing of a vehicle. Drive slow, be kind, and remember, if you ate today, thank that farmer on the tractor.

Come visit the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Henderson County office at 100 Jackson Park Road to pick up your bumper sticker and help us promote farm equipment awareness!

Information resourced from The Ohio State University