Farm vehicle crashes on public roads: Analysis of farm-level factors

Matthew McFalls, Marizen Ramirez, Karisa Harland, Motao Zhu, Nichole L. Morris, Cara Hamann, Corinne Peek-Asa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Rural public roads experience higher crash fatality rates than other roadways, with agricultural equipment adding greater risk of injury and fatality. This study set out to describe farmers’ experiences with farm equipment crashes and predictors of crashes at the farm level. Methods: A survey of farm operators was conducted in 9 Midwestern states (IL, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, and WI) in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistical Service. Findings: From 1,282 farms operating equipment on public roads in 2013, 7.6% of farmers reported that equipment from their farm had ever been in a crash (n = 97). Crashes occurred most often in June-August (44.0%) and were most often reported as being during the daytime (71.3%), on dry roads (79.4%), or in clear weather (71.4%). While most farmers responded that they were driving the farm equipment at the time of the crash (52.0%), nearly half of crashes involved their employees as the driver (48.0%). Crashes often went unreported to law enforcement (28.6%). Conclusion: To illustrate crash probabilities for farms with different profiles, we included farm acreage, crop farming, vehicle horsepower, annual miles driven, and the total number of farm vehicles driven on public roads in a predictive model. Large crop farms of 241+ acres, those who drove farm vehicles 1,430+ miles per year, and those with 20 or more farm vehicles had the highest probability of crash of 0.14.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-545
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number3
Early online dateSep 24 2021
StatePublished - Sep 24 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U54 OH 007548). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Rural Health Association


  • agricultural equipment
  • farm survey
  • farm vehicle crashes
  • rural road safety
  • traffic safety


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