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Publication #FE419

2017 Handbook of Employment Regulations Affecting Florida Farm Employers and Workers: Transportation of Migrant Farm Workers [State]1

Fritz Roka, Michael Olexa, Carol Fountain, and Jessica Fernandez2

Purpose

To provide seat belts for all passengers in a farm labor vehicle and to ensure all such vehicles meet state and federal standards (Florida Statutes Chapter 316.622).

Who Must Comply

Any person who operates a farm labor vehicle which is defined as any vehicle that transports nine or more migrant or seasonal workers to a place of employment or employment related activities.

A vehicle is NOT a farm labor vehicle if it

  • Carries only members of the owner’s immediate family.

  • Operates as a common carrier of passengers (i.e., commercial bus for hire).

  • Carpools workers without direction or payment from an employer or other third party.

Transporter Requirements

Transporters must comply with the provisions of Chapter 316.622, Florida Statutes, which provides that

  • The owner of a farm labor vehicle ensures that the vehicle conforms to safety standards outlined in the Migrant Seasonal Worker Protection Act (MSPA) subsection, Motor Vehicle Safety and Insurance. FE418, Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for Transporting Migrant and Seasonal Farm Worker, outlines the specific details of vehicle safety standards. These standards are described in the United States Code of Federal Regulations for MSPA and farm labor vehicles (29 CFR, Chapter V, Part 500, Subpart D).

  • After January 1, 2008, any farm labor vehicle having gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less must be equipped with a seat belt for every passenger position.

  • Instructions must be clearly posted stating the use of seat belts by all passengers is required.

  • Failure to use seat belts will not excuse negligence of an operator or farm vehicle owner, but failure to use seat belts may be used as evidence in determining comparative negligence in a civil suit.

  • The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has the authority to inspect farm labor vehicles for safety standards and issue stickers authorizing specific vehicles for transporting migrant and seasonal farm workers. A farm labor vehicle must clearly display the authorization sticker issued by DBPR.

Fines and Penalties

  • $100 fine for the failure to display the DBPR authorization sticker.

  • $200 fine for the failure to provide seat belts for all passenger positions.

  • A warning may be issued for the first offence of failure to display the DBPR authorization sticker. Fines thereafter start at $250 increments for the second and third offenses, and could escalate up to $2,500 per violation per day.

Related Information

  • Chapters 316.003, 316.622, 316.450, and 450.33(10) Florida Statutes

  • 29 CFR, Chapter V, Part 500, subpart D

  • Commercial Driver's License: Manual for Truck and Bus Drivers, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, June 2016 (https://www.flhsmv.gov/handbooks/EnglishCDLHandbook.pdf)

Responsible Agency

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
2900 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 617-2000
https://www.flhsmv.gov/
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Division of Regulation
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 488-6603
Toll-free 1-866-532-1440
http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/reg/index.html

Footnotes

1.

This is EDIS document FE419, a publication of the Department of Food and Resource Economics, UF/IFAS Extension. Published 2003, revised 2009 and 2017. This handbook is produced and distributed by the UF/IFAS Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law. Originally published by Leo Polopolus. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Fritz Roka, associate professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL. Michael Olexa, professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, and director, Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. Carol Fountain, editor, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. Jessica Fernandez, graduate student, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

This document is designed to provide accurate, current, and authoritative information on the subject. However, since the laws, administrative rulings, and court decisions on which it is based are subject to constant revision, portions of this publication could become outdated at any time. This publication is distributed with the understanding that the authors are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice, and the information contained herein should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. For these reasons, the utilization of these materials by any person constitutes an agreement to hold harmless the authors, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the University of Florida for any liability claims, damages, or expenses that may be incurred by any person as a result of reference to or reliance on the information contained in this publication.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.