National Farm Safety and Health Week is Sept. 15-21
Fall harvest and texting on Missouri’s rural roadways do not mix, says University of Missouri Extension safety and health specialist Karen Funkenbusch. “Turn your cellphone to TTYL (“talk to you later”) and stay alert for moving farm equipment,” she says.
“Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear” is the theme of this year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 15-21.
Funkenbusch says family members should talk about texting and driving whether they live in town or the country. Remind new drivers about the dangers of slow-moving farm equipment.
Only three states allow texting and driving. Missouri is one of them. However, Missouri laws do prohibit anyone under age 21 from texting and driving.
This makes it even more important for drivers to be on alert during harvest, says Funkenbusch.
A number of factors increase risks as farm equipment travels rural roadways. Shortened daylight hours reduce visibility. Fatigue and stress sometimes increase response times. Tractors and other large equipment need extra space on roadways and make wide turns.
Large farm equipment can reduce visibility on the road. School buses make frequent stops on their morning and afternoon runs.
Add texting drivers and you have a recipe for disaster, she says.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that texting makes drivers 23 times more likely to crash, the same as driving after drinking four beers.
Reduce the need for speed during harvest season. At 55 mph, it takes a car just five seconds to close the length of a football field and overtake a tractor moving 15 mph.
Source: Karen Funkenbusch, 573-884-1268