Motorists can help reduce these numbers.
Soybean organizations across the country, along with the United Soybean Board, are partnering together in the “Find Me Driving” road safety campaign to raise motorists’ awareness of farm equipment drivers on the roads this spring.
“As rural accidents are increasing in number with greater physical and economic losses, the Maryland Soybean Board (MSB) proactively identified farm vehicle road safety awareness as a priority,” commented Belinda Burrier, United Soybean Board Director and MSB Chair. “We are delighted that our fellow soybean organizations are joining in this safety initiative.”
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only 30 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled in 2017 were in rural areas, yet 46 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017 occurred in rural areas. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the United States was 2.1 times higher in rural areas than urban areas. Every state reported a higher percent or rural area fatalities than urban areas.
The Find Me Driving campaign will help increase state motorists’ awareness of farmers on roadways. These resources are available for everyone to use to learn about what to look for on rural roads and how to prepare for safely navigating rural roads. As farm planting season activity increases, drivers can increase awareness to help prevent accidents.
Online Find Me Driving campaign resources feature SAM, the campaign’s mascot, whose name means ‘Slow down, Assess your surroundings, Move with caution’ and resembles the high-reflectance slow-moving-vehicle triangle emblem required on all vehicles traveling under 25 mph.
Visitors to the site can find tips about how to safely drive when encountering farm equipment and encourages motorists to look for the bright orange triangle on tractors, combines, maintenance trucks and other large, slow-moving vehicles. Resources include lighting and marking guidelines for farm equipment, as well as tips when driving slow-moving vehicles in traffic.
“In the spring, farmers are planting crops using large, slow-moving machinery that sometimes needs to be on roads with fast-moving cars and trucks,” Burrier said. “This increases the chances our motorists will encounter farm vehicles and equipment on public roads. We want drivers to be prepared and arrive home safe.”