Articles Posted in Farm Vehicle Accidents

Maryland is known not only for its capital city, Baltimore, and its sprawling suburbs, but for its miles and miles of scenic farmland. As the suburbs continue to expand into the countryside, more drivers may encounter working farm vehicles travelling on Md.’s rural and secondary roads. This can create a potentially dangerous situation on narrow, winding rural roads with limited visibility.

The Maryland Farm Bureau reports that rural road safety is a growing concern as the suburbs spread into working farm communities — setting up a scenario of clashing lifestyles that could lead to auto and farm vehicle crashes. Commuters eager to get to work pulling up behind a slow-moving tractor or combine can get frustrated and try to pass when it’s not safe to do so … creating a potential deadly scenario for everyone on the road.

What’s more, a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) states that rural roads are disproportionately deadly, for a variety of reasons.

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When people think of hazardous occupations, a certain few come to mind, such as fire fighters and police officers. However anyone in Maryland who does farming and agricultural work already knows what a government report revealed to be true: Farming work is hazardous and can cause injury and death. What might surprise some is national statistics for fatal farming accidents reveal that farming work is more dangerous than firefighting or police work combined.

U.S. Department of Labor data show that the national rate of fatal occupational injuries for farmers and ranchers in 2009 was 38.5 per 100,000 full-time workers — as compared to 13.1 for police officers and 4.4 for firefighters. City dwellers and other people who don’t live near working farms may not realize how dangerous farming work can be. Labor Department economist Jim Rice told Market Watch that “…you probably hear less about people dying when tractors roll over on them. For those who do work on farms, it’s still a dangerous occupation.”

Maryland farmers, ranchers, and others in the agriculture industry work with heavy equipment and vehicles. Like construction workers, these hard-working Maryland farmers put in long hours doing heavy labor–particularly now that the warm weather has arrived. If you live and drive in Maryland, you may already have noticed farm vehicles on the rural roadways –which pose traffic accident risks for both the farmers and other motorists.

A national study on the safety hazards of farm equipment driving on public roads reveals what experienced Baltimore County, Maryland injury attorneys know very well:

Urban drivers sharing narrow, winding back roads with slow-moving tractors, combines, and other agricultural vehicles can be a dangerous, deadly combination.

It’s a serious driving safety problem in rural Maryland counties (such as Carroll County and Harford County) and other farming communities across the U.S. More and more urban commuters are moving to the country — bringing more cars, more traffic, and more hurried driving with them. At the same time, state laws written in the early 20th century have not kept pace with the capabilities of modern farm equipment, passenger cars, nor changes in U.S. driving habits.

Fifty years ago, Farmer John owned the Maryland farm land that he plowed and tilled, planted and harvested. He worked from sun up to sun down within the confines of his own property. Therefore, the Maryland farmer of yesteryear had no reason to take his farm vehicles out onto the public roadways.

That’s all changed now — creating challenges for both farmers and motorists to avoid serious car accidents with farm equipment on rural Md. roadways.

The dynamic of farming has changed as suburbia has spread into rural Maryland — into small towns in Carroll County and Howard County, Md.; Harford, Cecil, and Kent County, Md., among others. Homeowners buy up what once were huge farms and then subdivide their property, leasing out parcels of land to working Maryland farmers. These farmers must then drive their tractors, combines, and other agricultural vehicles to get from one parcel of land to the next. That’s when accidents with motor vehicles can happen.

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