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220 Farm equipment crashes on public roads: results from a survey of midwest farms
  1. Matt McFalls1,
  2. Corinne Peek-Asa2,
  3. Karisa Harland3,
  4. Motao Zhu4,
  5. Nichole L Morris5,
  6. Marizen Ramirez1
  1. 1University of Minnesota, School of Public Health
  2. 2University of Iowa, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health
  3. 3University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine
  4. 4Ohio State University, College of Public Health
  5. 5University of Minnesota, Roadway Safety Institute


Statement of Purpose Rural public roads experience higher crash rates than other roadways, with agricultural equipment adding greater risk of injury and fatality. This study investigated farm-level factors and their association with farm equipment crashes on public roads, along with circumstances of these crashes.

Methods/Approac A 2014 survey of nine Midwestern states was analyzed, in which farm operators reported history of farm equipment crashes, details of the crash, and past-year driving of equipment. Chi-square tests were used to compare operator, farm, and vehicle characteristics by crash status. Backward stepwise logistic regression was used to identify predictors of a crash.

Results Of 1403 farms operating equipment on public roads, a weighted 6.4% reported a crash (n=100). Crops, acreage, vehicle miles, and number of vehicles were initially associated with a crash. Higher odds of crash were observed with second acreage tertile (OR=2.98; 95% CI: 1.37–6.49), third acreage tertile (OR=2.72; 95% CI: 1.22–6.08), and a 10-vehicle increase (OR=1.28; 95% CI: 1.02–1.61). Crashes occurred most often in June-August (44.3%). Driver experience was often fewer than five years (83.1%) and many were paid/unpaid workers (48.0%). Crashes often went unreported to law enforcement (29.0%).

Conclusions With higher acreage and number of vehicles driven on public roads, farms were more likely to report history of a crash. Many crash characteristics appear to align with findings from previous studies, although differences were observed in seasonality.

Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science This study suggests further points to explore in the role of large farms and high vehicle usage in farm equipment crashes. These findings provide farm-level context to previous research with motor vehicle crash reports, with the implication that crashes may often go unreported. Limited driver experience may have safety implications for vulnerable high-risk occupations in rural settings.

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