The number of accidents involving farm equipment on the roads is miniscule compared to overall traffic collisions, but a recent report highlights how road fatalities involving tractors and other farm equipment are somewhat ignored by highway safety officials.
The proportion of crashes involving agricultural vehicles is only 0.2 percent of the total number of vehicles involved in traffic crashes, according to the report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension.
There were 87 fatal crashes involving non-truck farm equipment in 2006, the report said.
But the report shows that, because of the relatively small population involved in the agriculture industry, the fatality rate per full-time equivalent workers was the third highest among industry groups.
The report warns that "because the proportion of incidents is so small in comparison to all public roadway crashes, federal, state and local government bodies rarely give this area of roadway safety any attention."
The report identifies several factors influencing the fatality rate, including faster tractors and the increased overlap of rural and urban areas.