Drivers who live in Phoenix, Arizona, are probably less familiar with how driving can be in rural areas. With only 19 out of 100 Americans living in rural areas, few are. It would be mistaken, though, to think that these areas are necessarily safer for drivers than the hustle and bustle of urban roads. The U.S. DoT says that over half of all fatal accidents occur on rural roads.
Now, a study from the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health has found out something startling: Roadway crashes with agricultural vehicles like tractors are five times more likely to be fatal than non-agricultural-related crashes. With most of these accidents occurring on straightaways, experts believe that their cause often has to do with drivers passing agricultural vehicles because they are going too slow.
For their study, researchers analyzed 203 agriculture-related accidents that occurred between 2010 and 2012. They encompassed 381 vehicles and 482 people. Of these crashes, 80.8% involved a collision between two vehicles while 10.3% involved a vehicle colliding with a stationary object. Overturns were behind 3.4% of the incidents.
Both passenger vehicle drivers and agricultural vehicle drivers can do much to stay safe. The former should never pass with limited visibility, for instance, and the latter should display the slow-moving vehicle emblem when traveling below 25 mph.
Both types of drivers can be at fault in agricultural vehicle crashes. Arizona allows the victims of car accidents to seek compensation for their injuries even when they are partially to blame, and in fact, the state operates under what’s called the pure comparative negligence rule. This means even a victim who’s 99% at fault can file a claim. Obviously, any percentage of fault might make it hard to achieve a settlement, so crash victims may benefit from legal representation.