During the recent Rural Roads Safety Week in Pennsylvania, a call was made for motorists and farmers to share the roads in a responsible manner. In collaboration with the state's transportation, police and agriculture departments, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau endeavors to raise awareness of the coming planting season and the associated safety risks on the roads. Increased numbers of slow-moving farm equipment will be using the roads, and the patience of motorists will be tested. An auto accident that involves heavy farm equipment can lead to severe personal injury or worse.
A state police trooper asked motorists to take note of slow-moving vehicle signs on farm equipment they encounter. Many of these large vehicles travel at only 25 mph, and irresponsible speeding and distractions of motorists may have devastating consequences. Passenger vehicles typically cannot withstand the impact of large farm equipment when collisions occur. On the other hand, motorists may encounter slow-moving buggies that are not built to hold up in collisions with cars.
One farmer said motorists should be aware that the operators of some of the large motorized equipment or buggies loaded with hay can't see much. Other dangerous situations involve the operators of farm equipment having to make wide turns when entering or exiting public roads. He reminded motorists that the farmers will not be causing hold-ups on the roads for an extended time, and equipment operators will pull over to let motorists pass if safe opportunities exist.
Unfortunately, despite efforts of authorities to prevent accidents involving farm equipment, personal injury and fatalities continue to occur on rural roads. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, PennDOT figures show that seven fatalities resulted from 101 crashes that involved farm equipment in 2014. Any victim of an auto accident where evidence of negligence on the part of another person or vehicle owner exists may pursue a claim for financial relief for medical expenses and other losses by filing a personal injury claim. Similarly, those who lost loved ones may file wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania civil courts.
Source: farmanddairy.com, "Share the road: Slow down and stay safe during busy planting season", Brian Lisik, April 17, 2015