Sharing the road with slow-moving farm equipment can pose a serious hazard on rural highways. Greater attention is needed to reduce accidents according to Charles Schwab, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, Iowa State University.

Schwab, an agricultural safety specialist, served on the North Central Regional Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension convened by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee recently issued a report that addresses the rural traffic, state and federal regulations and the transport of workers on public roadways with farm equipment.

The report found that crash fatality rates in the most rural counties were almost double the rate in urban counties and that crashes were more frequent, more severe and more likely to result in death than urban crashes. The study found that in crashes involving farm vehicles, the farm vehicle occupant was killed nearly twice as often as occupants of the other vehicle.

The report emphasizes that safety-education programs are needed to educate both the public and farmers on best practices for operating agricultural equipment on public roads. The report also recommends policy changes for a consistent source of funding for research into hazards, risks and best safety practices.

The full text of the report is available online at:  http://www.csrees.usda.gov/about/white_papers/pdfs/ag_equipment.pdf

Source: Iowa State University