Regulations are often cited as the bane of any farmer’s existence. But what about Santa? He may not have to deal with the traditional EPA regulations with which most farmers deal, but he does have to consider US Department of Transportation regulations, especially if he wants to keep that rig of his legal.
To help us comb through the long list of USDOT regulations, IFB transportation expert Kevin Rund is on hand to review Santa’s sleigh and his mandatory requirements. Thanks, Kevin, for your help in compiling this tongue-in-cheek holiday regulatory article!
Transportation regulations can be a headache for Santa, too, as he climbs into his sleigh.
As Illinois Farm Bureau senior director of local government, I have been helping Santa, a member of the North Pole County Farm Bureau, understand the complexities of modern transportation rules. I was able to gain some new information in researching Santa’s special case.
Special provisions have been built into transportation regulations to accommodate the singular vehicle type operated by Santa Claus. Known as the ‘Claus clause,’ these rules may be broadly applied — if anyone else happens to own or lease flying reindeer and a sleigh.
Which means the jolly old elf will need to meet the following requirements:
Santa will be pleased with the conspicuity marking requirements. That red and white reflective material fits nicely with his Christmas color scheme.
In addition, Santa had to get special authorization for his trip because there is a red light on the wrong end of his rig — Rudolph’s nose.
As an animal-drawn vehicle, Santa’s sleigh is required to display an SMV (slow moving vehicle) emblem — despite its blinding speed and the fact that it more often than not is airborne. Though the fluorescent orange clashes with red and green, Santa cheerfully applied the ASAE S276.5-compliant emblem to the back of his sleigh.
As a private carrier engaged in international commerce, Clause Inc. has a staff of elves busy arranging jurisdictional reciprocity with transportation officials across the globe.
A special Unusual Situations Department of Transportation (USDOT) number was assigned to Santa, but he was allowed to put it on his sleigh, instead of the power units (the deer are OK with animal ID, up to a point). Santa’s number ends in “25,” so he’ll have to update it in the fifth month of even-numbered years. And being required to have a USDOT number means he has to have the Unique Christmas Registration (UCR) as well.
Because Santa drives only once each year, he is issued a specialized CDL (Christmas Driver’s License). But that license is required to have an endorsement for customized air breaks (go figure).
In the spirit of giving, Santa shared a couple of his special CDL test questions with me:
Seatbelts should be worn: A) during rooftop landings; B) when navigating between tall buildings; C) at all times as a driver and as a passenger; or D) over Belgium and Norway.
Whenever you travel at night, you should: A) make sure you are well rested; B) drink plenty of milk with cookies; C) periodically polish Rudolph’s nose; or D) avoid wind turbine clusters.
In researching Santa’s situation, I did learn the equipment requirements for his sleigh and deer were specially modified under the Claus clause.
- Air brakes have been given a whole new definition.
- Glazing mandates are out the window.
- Headlights were replaced by Rudolph with his nose so bright.
- Fuel system rules have been modified to accommodate moss.
- Coupling devices … Santa preferred not to be specific.
Santa realizes he has done his share to commercialize Christmas, so he knows he’s a commercial carrier. But he still finds the new medical card certification choices (NI, NA, EI and EA) to be very confusing. Santa is considering adapting a form of Bessie Bingo and make his decision using a 2-by-2 grid and nature, a system he calls “Dasher designation.”
To wrap this up, truck drivers should take note of Santa’s off-street parking abilities. Santa’s rooftop technique satisfies all Motor Carrier parking regulations while preserving lane widths on local roads and streets.