Road Safety Campaign Highlights Awareness of Farm Equipment Drivers for Motorists
HARRISBURG, PA (March 1, 2021) – The Pennsylvania Soybean Board, with support from the Maryland Soybean Board and the United Soybean Board, is partnering in 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,” commented Belinda Burrier, MSB President 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% of the total vehicle miles traveled in 2017 were in rural areas, yet 46% 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.
“We applaud the Maryland Soybean Board for initiating the campaign on this important safety issue to help increase Pennsylvania motorists’ awareness of farmers on roadways,” said John Harrell, chair of the Pennsylvania Soybean Board and USB Director. “These helpful resources are available for everyone to use to learn about what to look for on rural roads and how to prepare to safely navigate rural roads in our region. As farm planting season activity increases, drivers can increase awareness to help prevent accidents.”
Online Find Me Driving campaign resources 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.
“Pennsylvania is home to more than 50,000 farms and during this time of year, farmers across the state are planting crops using large, slow-moving machinery that sometimes needs to be on roads with fast-moving cars and trucks,” said Harrell. “[This] increases the chances our motorists will encounter farm vehicles and equipment on public roads. We want drivers to be prepared and arrive home safe.”
About the Pennsylvania Soybean Board
The Pennsylvania Soybean Board is a farmer-controlled Board responsible for managing Pennsylvania’s share of funds received from the nationwide Soybean Checkoff program. The funding is available under an assessment program, approved by Congress in 1990, under which soybean farmers contribute 50 cents of every $100 they receive for their beans at the first point of sale. Funds are used to develop markets, educate consumers, and research new ways to utilize and produce soybeans more efficiently. For more information, visit www.pasoybean.org.