Agricultural Equipment on Public Roads

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Schwab, Charles
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Schwab, Charles
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

A Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension was formed by the United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (USDA-CSREES) North Central Regional (NCR) Administrators in 2000. The goal of the committee, designated as NCR 197, was to more effectively use the land grant system's research and extension capacity in cooperation with the experience of those who live and work in agriculture to reduce work-related injuries, illness, death, and property loss. The NCR 197 Committee produced a landmark publication in 2003 titled, National Land Grant Research and Extension Agenda for Agricultural Safety and Health: National Agenda for Action. Twelve priorities for action were identified:

  1. Sensors and guarding systems
  2. Agricultural equipment on public roads
  3. Agriculture confined spaces
  4. Emerging technologies
  5. Human factors engineering and design
  6. Management of agricultural emergencies
  7. Livestock handling and housing systems
  8. Public policy issues
  9. Capital and management intensive vs. family labor intensive operations
  10. Fire detection and suppression
  11. Agricultural safety education and training
  12. Special populations and enterprises

In 2007, the committee chose to develop a white paper on Agricultural Equipment on Public Roads. This white paper has multiple purposes: a) to help identify research, policy and extension/outreach priorities for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Transportation, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, state departments of agriculture, transportation and law enforcement, county government, and production agriculture based organizations; and b) to identify possible design and practice standards, goals, or guidelines for farm equipment manufacturers, standard setting organizations, and government agencies.

Issues relating to operating agricultural equipment on public roads are multi-faceted and complex. This report looks at a number of issues, however, not all issues can be examined in the same detail because the literature in some areas is at best sparse. Issues addressed in this report include rural/urban traffic interface, state and federal regulations, higher speed tractors, and transport of workers on public roadways with farm equipment.

Several suggestions in the areas of research, standards, education/outreach and policy have been developed to help guide future work as a result of this review.

Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension. 2009. Agricultural Equipment on Public Roads. USDA-CSREES, Washington, DC. Accessed from
Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009