Many farm fatalities happen on the road

Farmers and motorists are urged to be cautious as spring fieldwork brings more slow-moving vehicles onto roadways.

Dr. Bryan Weichelt with the National Farm Medicine Center says national statistics are hard to get, but they’ve been tracking Wisconsin fatalities and injuries over the past four years. “In 2019, 15% of all farm fatalities were on a public roadway. In 2020, 18%.” He says, “This doesn’t include non-fatal injuries, you know, folks that were injured and survived but were able to make it back home.”

In 2019, six out of 40 deaths were on roadways, and in 2020, it was five out of 28 deaths.

Weichelt says the National Farm Medicine Center is distributing free slow-moving vehicle signs to farmers with help from their partners including Rural Mutual Insurance Company, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program, the family of Mike Biadasz and the Auction of Champions. “In the springtime, it’s a good reminder for anyone using these public roadways to be aware of other equipment that’s operating in their area.”

In 2020, 11 deaths involved a farmer operating a tractor.  Five farmers operating ATVs or UTVs were killed, and five more deaths were from operating trucks or semis.  Another three deaths involved tree cutting.

For non-fatal farm injuries in 2020, Twenty-five of the victims (89%) were male and three were female. Persons aged 65 and over constituted the largest number of victims with 16 individuals (64%) while 3 were under 18.

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