The increase in urbanization of rural areas has led to an increase in traffic on public roads used by the farmers as they move equipment and commodities. Housing developments, small acreage lifestyles and movement to bedroom communities all contribute to more traffic on rural roads. Increasing farm size results in larger farm equipment, non-contiguous fields, and more time for farm equipment on public roads. Rural roads are more dangerous.
The percent of crashes with a fatality is higher on rural than urban roads (53.7% and 44.1% respectfully). The highest percent of fatal crashes in rural locations—42.5—occurred on rural roads posted at 55 mph or higher (NHTSA 2007). Although, the number of farm equipment motor vehicle crashes is small nationally, the percentage of fatal motor vehicle incidents involving farm equipment is almost five times higher (Hanna et al, 1997). Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has the third highest rate of fatal crashes per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers at 2.58 FTE (Pratt 2003).
Roadway safety has been a major concern of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH) producers committee since 2004. Perhaps because so many have either experienced a farm equipment/motor vehicle crash or a close call, or know someone who has.
Prelimary Project Work: It's Preventable Campaign, TIPS cards
Educational Video: Rural Road Crashes: They're Preventable!