An investigation of tractor-related farm accidents in Iowa during 1988-1990
Stewart J. Melvin
Agricultural tractor-related accidents in Iowa for the three years 1988-90 were analyzed. Eighty-seven fatalities and 173 total accidents that were reported in Iowa's newspapers were used as the data source;Tractor overturns accounted for 58.6% of the fatalities, with the side overturn being the most prevalent;Eighteen percent of the fatalities were due to the victim being runover;This involved operators as well as extra riders. All the extra rider fatalities were children;Sixteen percent of the 173 incidents were due to collisions with motor-vehicles. Eight fatalities resulted, including six vehicle occupants and two tractor operators. Motor-vehicle collisions were due to (1) the tractor being rear-ended; (2) the tractor turning left while a motor-vehicle was passing; and (3) head-on collisions;Intervention strategies were analyzed. There were no deaths in an overturn where the tractor was equipped with a ROPS. None of the operators used the seatbelt;An intervention plan was designed that would result in an 80% reduction of Iowa's estimated 30 tractor-related deaths per year within five years;The primary strategy proposed consisted of retrofitting ROPS where feasible and a buy-back program targeted at tractors for which ROPS are not available;Sources of funding considered were commodity check-offs and a one-percent charge on food products sold. The charge on food products was considered since it is a method for consumers of agricultural products to assist in paying for a farmer's safety and well-being;Implications for engineering, education, and enforcement are presented.