Motorists urged to use caution as farm vehicles return to roads

From staff reports

Farmers across Pennsylvania are gearing up to return to the fields for spring planting, which means drivers should be on the lookout for farm equipment on the roads.

Rural Roads Safety Week is being observed through Saturday, and representatives from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the state departments of Agriculture, State Police and Transportation are promoting safe driving on rural roads.

“The purpose of Rural Roads Safety Week isto alertdriversthat large, slow-moving farm vehicles and equipmentare once again traveling on rural roads across the state,” said Garry Raub, of Perry County, who raises beef cattle and grows a variety of grains on several farms near Duncannon.

“We’re urging motorists to use caution when approaching farmvehicles and to be patient if they are delayed,” Raub said at a news conference held by PFB, the state’s largest farm organization.

“Drivers need to keep their guard up throughout the planting, growing and harvesting seasons by reducing speed and being more aware of motorists operating farm vehicles,” said Rick Ebert, PFB president.

“We also encourage all farmers to double-check safety measures on their vehicles to ensure they are visible to motorists and following all transportation laws,” Ebert added.

PennDOT’s 2017 data indicates there were 106 crashes, including 64 injuries and five fatalities, involving farm equipment on rural roads in Pennsylvania.

In contrast, PennDOT data indicates there were 53,883 crashes on rural roads statewide last year, with 30,922 injuries and 693 fatalities from those crashes.

Farmers are legally allowed to operate farm equipment on state roads and they must display the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem, which is an orange-colored triangle with a red border, on the back of all vehicles or equipment that consistently travel at speeds of 25 mph or less.