May 15, 2018 (SHAKOPEE): With temperatures on the rise, more farmers will be in their fields, which means slow-moving farm equipment will also be on Scott County roadways. “We want to encourage drivers to be mindful, slow down, and share the road, which will not only ensure their safety, but also the safety of our farmers,” says Sheriff Luke Hennen. “Motorists should also pay special attention to stationary farm equipment on the side of the road because there might be farmers working nearby.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), over the past five years, there were 688 crashes involving farm vehicles that resulted in 23 fatalities and 348 injuries. Nearly half of the fatalities were an occupant of the farm vehicle. Twenty-two percent of all farm equipment crashes and 29 percent of the fatalities were distraction-related. Other factors were speed-related and alcohol-related.
MnDot recommends that motorists:
- When approaching farm equipment, slow down and use caution.
- Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming cars or off the road.
- Wait for a safe place to pass.
- Wear seatbelts.
- Drive with headlights on at all times.
Additionally, farm equipment operators should:
- Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
- Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
- Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.
“Roadway safety is a priority of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office,” says Sheriff Hennen. “Patience, courtesy, staying alert and slowing down will help ensure that everyone makes it home safely this growing season.”