Mini-truck ordinance draft in the works

Published 6:35 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mower County residents could soon see more mini-trucks moving on Mower County roads.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners discussed the issue Tuesday, and an ordinance is being drafted. Before the commissioners can approve the ordinance, a public hearing on the use of the mini-trucks is required.

“We thought, well, we should bring this before the board to see if they would be willing to pass this to make these individuals who have purchased these trucks legal,” Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi said.

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Over the summer, a farmer who uses a mini-truck on his or her property contacted the sheriff’s office about licensing the vehicle. Amazi said she could not find where to license such vehicles.

In the past, the state has licensed the mini-trucks, but Minnesota does not any longer. The state has recently delegated the licensing to the local jurisdictions.

Many models don’t have traditional license plates. The licensing will likely be some kind of sticker, which Amazi said would be similar to hunting and fishing licenses.

The mini-trucks will only be allowed to operate on county or township roads. State laws stipulate that the trucks cannot be driven on state or federal highways.

Some farmers use the mini-trucks to move between plots of land.

The mini-trucks are similar to all terrain vehicles and gators. They are capable of reaching speeds between 40 and 55 mph, and some of the trucks can haul about 800 pounds in the bed. Typical mini-trucks seat two people, but some have the steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle.

The trucks often have the steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle rather than the right, and have headlights and taillights. The mini-trucks are also known to have good gas mileage.

Only licensed drivers can operate the mini-trucks. The vehicle needs insurance and must be in working condition to be licensed.

Amazi said the county is using Winona County’s mini-truck ordinance as a model.