Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001 • 717.761.2740 • Email • @pfbmediaone
For Immediate Release: April 21, 2016
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(Motorists Urged to Drive with Caution as Farm Vehicles Return to Rural Roads)
Mechanicsburg) – As farmers across Pennsylvania return to the fields to plant crops this spring, representatives from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture, State Police and Transportation joined together to promote safe driving on rural roads as part of Rural Roads Safety Week (RRSW), April 17-23.
Cumberland County dairy farmer Jason Nailor hosted the statewide event on behalf of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB). “The purpose of Rural Roads Safety Week is to alert drivers that large, slow-moving farm vehicles and equipment are once again traveling on rural roads across the state. We’re urging motorists to use caution when approaching farm vehicles and be patient if they are delayed,” said Jason Nailor, who milks 80 cows at J&S Dairy, which is located on Williams Grove Road in Mechanicsburg. Nailor also grows corn, soybeans, wheat and other grains on 200 acres of land.
Farm Bureau notes that while it’s timely to remind motorists to be cautious now that spring planting is underway, practicing safe driving habits on rural roads is important all year long.
“Drivers need to keep their guard up throughout the planting, growing and harvesting seasons by reducing speed and being more aware of other motorists," said Cumberland County farmer Mathew Meals, who represented Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. “We believe accidents can be prevented if farmers and motorists look out for one another on country roads. If motorists hear our messages and follow safe driving tips, costly accidents can be avoided and lives can be saved.”
According to PennDOT’s 2015 crash data, there were 100 crashes, including 65 injuries and two fatalities that involved farm equipment in Pennsylvania. Overall, PennDOT data indicates there were 53,340 crashes on rural roads statewide last year, with 781 fatalities in those crashes.
“Maintaining safe travel on our rural roads is an ongoing challenge that PennDOT takes seriously,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary of Highway Administration Scott Christie. “Though crashes and fatalities involving farm equipment have decreased slightly, total crashes within rural areas have increased, indicating we still have work to do. We urge drivers to use caution, slow down when approaching large farm equipment, and avoid distractions or aggressive behavior.”
Farmers are legally allowed to operate farm equipment on Pennsylvania roads and they must display the Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) Emblem, which is an orange colored triangle with a red border, on the rear of all vehicles or equipment that consistently travel at speeds of 25 mph or less.
“It’s important that motorists recognize that slow-moving farm vehicles are allowed to be on the roads. Drivers should be cautious when approaching or passing one of these vehicles, which will have a slow moving vehicle emblem on it,” said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Adam Reed.
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding presented a proclamation from Governor Wolf declaring April 17-23 as Rural Roads Safety Week in Pennsylvania.
“Just as major highways and bypasses allow traffic to keep flowing throughout and around urban centers, rural roads are the major, and often times, the only connectors for agriculture and residents in those areas to interact with markets, businesses and opportunities,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding as he presented Governor Wolf’s Rural Roads Safety Week proclamation. “Today’s event allows us to remind both our farmers and our residents of the importance of being aware and being safe when traveling on our rural roads. And also reminds every one of the significance of agriculture in each of our communities.”
In addition to the statewide news conference at J&S Dairy in Cumberland County, several other county Farm Bureaus across Pennsylvania held news events this week to help spread the word about RRSW.
PFB created a brochure with background information and tips for motorists and farmers as part of Rural Roads Safety Week. The brochure can be viewed or downloaded from the following link: www.pfb.com/images/brochures/current-RRS-bro.pdf.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 61,400 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.