Motor Vehicles Clash with Farm Equipment on Rural Roads

The traffic mix of motor vehicles and farm equipment in rural America is once again growing as planting season unfolds across the Midwest.  Crashes between motor vehicles and farm equipment continue to occur on rural roadways.  Recent crashes in the news include: 

  • 24Jan2012       Stockton, IA     Southbound van collided with northbound self-propelled fertilizer  spreader that turned left in front of the oncoming van
  • 22Feb2012      Octavia, NE     Auto rear-ended eastbound tractor with white light to the rear
  • 27Feb2012      Brunswick, NE SUV rear-ended eastbound hay feeder without rear lighting towed  by tractor with lights
  • 02Mar2012     Columbus, NE  Van rear-ended eastbound tractor on roadway at 6:50 p.m. 

The 7-state CS-CASH1 region experienced over 3500 such crashes between farm equipment (excluding trucks) and motor vehicles 2005-2009.  Nearly 1/3rd of those crashes resulted in nonfatal injuries.  Over 70% of the 1677 persons injured were occupants of the motor vehicle:  44% of the 86 deaths in the 5-year period were operators of farm equipment.2

Whether the trip is business or pleasure, every motor vehicle driver whether from an urban or rural community has a responsibility to share rural roadways safely, and so does every farm equipment operator.  That means not only ensuring that proper equipment is in place (seatbelts, wipers, lighting, marking and more), that it functions properly and is used, but also that safe operating practices are followed by both motorists and equipment operators.

For an internet video on this topic in general, entitled “Rural Road Crashes – They’re Preventable”, visit www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ods/RuralRoadCrashes.html.

For more information on lighting and marking for farm equipment and safety precautions to be followed, visit the Centers for Disease Control National Agricultural Safety Database at www.nasdonline.org and search on the word “collisions”.     

For specific help with lighting and marking for particular equipment, see your local farm equipment dealer.  Additional information regarding lighting and marking can be found by copying each of the following links into your web browser:

1 CS-CASH (Central States – Center for Agricultural Safety and Health) is National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), federally-funded, center at the University of Nebrasks Medical Center in Omaha to serve the states of NE, KS, MO, IA, MN, ND, and SD.

2 “Comprehensive data for 2005-9” FEMVCPC (Farm Equipment – Motor Vehicle Crash Prevention Conference) accessed at http://www.agsafetyandhealthnet.org/Current%20FEMVCPC%20Data.htm.


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