Every year agricultural organizations across the country create campaigns to raise awareness of slow moving farm equipment and its drivers. This year, Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week runs from Feb. 28 through March 6. In recognition of that, the United Soybean Board and soybean organizations around the country are partnering to bring you 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 proactively identified farm vehicle road safety awareness as a priority and launched the campaign,” commented Belinda Burrier, Maryland Soybean Board Chair and USB Director. “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 U.S. was 2.1 times higher in rural areas than urban areas. Every state reported a higher percent of rural area fatalities than urban areas.
“As farm planting season activity increases this spring, drivers can increase awareness to help prevent accidents,” continued Burrier. “These helpful 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 in our region.”
Find Me Driving campaign resources online that 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 also include lighting and marking guidelines for farm equipment, as well as tips when driving slow moving vehicles in traffic.