As combines take to the fields to harvest fall crops, the risks of accidents on rural roads rises. Slow-moving vehicles (such as farm machinery, animal-drawn vehicles and construction equipment), are identified as traveling at speeds of 25 m.p.h. or less, and can pose a serious risk to drivers who are unaccustomed with the measures required to safely travel the roads with them.
Decreasing the number of dangerous encounters involving motorists and slow-moving vehicles (SMVs) is a goal of the Maryland Soybean Board (MSB). It’s new education initiative, www.findmedriving.com, reminds drivers of safety measures to take when driving a SMV or driving near a SMV. The campaign has been launched with a contest to name its attention-grabbing character created from the SMV emblem – a bold orange triangle with red border sign that is required on all SMVs. The contest the winner will receive a $100 gasoline gift card.
“We’ve had many farmers tell us they had to drive off the road to avoid a vehicle trying to pass them when oncoming vehicles were headed their way,” commented Brian Johnson, MSB Chair. “Auto crashes involving farm vehicles or equipment can be costly both in terms of property damage and injuries, and in some circumstances, result in fatalities. We want to minimize these occurrences.”
This education campaign is one strategy from the MSB-funded road safety study, which provided insight into causes of accidents and recommendations for improved safety. The research showed that accidents frequently involved more than just farm equipment, and education about all SMV vehicles was needed.
The number of farm vehicle crashes grows each year. Not surprisingly, they most frequently occur during peak farming season – June through October. Over 75% occurred during daylight hours, with only 16.5% occurring in the dark. Over 72% occurred in clear weather, while only 9% occurred in precipitation – rain, sleet, or snow.
“We applaud the work of organizations that share information with drivers to improve road safety,” stated Johnson. “MSB wants to increase the impact of these efforts in improving road safety and reach a full range of stakeholders. We invite anyone interested in making our drives safer to team with us to lower the accident rate on Maryland roads.”
Driver tips and the name contest is at www.findmedriving.com. The Maryland Rural Roads Safety Study is available here: www.mdsoy.com/md-rural-road-safety-study/.
For More Information:
Danielle Bauer, Executive Director
Maryland Soybean Board
443-812-4526 | email@example.com