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Farmers’ Perceptions and Concerns: The Risks of Driving Farm Vehicles on Rural Roadways in North Carolina

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 9(4): 327-348 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15461) @2003
Authors:   R. C. Luginbuhl, V. C. Jones, R. L. Langley
Keywords:   Agriculture, Crash data, Farm vehicle crashes, Farm survey, North Carolina, Rural road safety, Traffic hazards

This study focuses on farmers perceptions of roadway safety and reviews specific and pertinent North Carolina rural road crash data to evaluate their perceptions and concerns. A survey was mailed to 1,357 prospective participants throughout North Carolina. Of these, 656 (48.3%) North Carolina farmers completed and returned the survey. The study revealed that while the majority of respondents took a number of specific safety measures to ensure their safety while driving their tractor on rural roads, most believed that driving their tractor on rural roads was more dangerous than it was five years ago. Few respondents believed that laws governing tractors on rural roads are well known by urban residents. While a majority of the respondents would support a law to mandate the use of a slowmoving vehicle (SMV) emblem on the back of slowmoving farm equipment, a majority also believed that a more effective way to mitigate potential crashes would be to ensure that all farm vehicles had blinking or flashing lights, that diamondshaped caution signs depicting a tractor were posted on roadways with frequent tractor traffic, and that roadway shoulders were created or widened on roads with heavy farm traffic so that tractors could move off the roadway. Only 22% of respondents feltsafe driving their tractor on rural roadways in North Carolina. Most respondents felt that the biggest problem with roadway safety was the lack of respect and increased speed of other drivers. Recent data indicate that in crashes involving farm vehicles, citations were issued to 34% of the nonfarm vehicle operators and 24% to farm vehicle operators. For those driving nonfarm vehicle who were deemed at fault, 66% were cited for failure to reduce speed. For those driving farm vehicles, the most frequent citation involved the lack of safe movement.

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