Drivers in Florida may think that country roads are safe, but according to the Department of Transportation, over half of all fatal roadway crashes occur in rural areas. This is despite the fact that only 19 out of every 100 Americans live in these regions. Now, a study from the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health has found that rural roadway crashes are five times more likely to be fatal if they involve tractors or other agricultural vehicles.
Researchers looked at 203 agriculture-related accidents that occurred on rural roads between 2010 and 2012. Compared to non-agriculture-related crashes, agriculture-related accidents tended to involve more vehicles, more fatalities and, for those who survive, more severe injuries. Of these incidents, 80.8% were two-vehicle collisions, 10.3% had a vehicle colliding with a stationary object and 3.4% were overturns or other non-collision events.
Inclement weather was a factor in very few of the crashes. In the accidents occurring on straightaways with a grade, cars passing slow-moving agricultural vehicles were likely to blame in most cases. Drivers are advised not to pass such vehicles in no-passing zones or when there is reduced visibility. As for farmers, they should have the correct emblems on their vehicles, use the proper lighting and always stay within their lane.
Many commercial vehicle accidents can end in severe injuries. If a crash victim was not at fault, they may want to consult a lawyer. The lawyer, if hired, could negotiate on the victim’s behalf for a settlement and litigate as a last resort. A team of investigators and other third parties may come in to gather proof of the defendant’s negligence.