Senator Charles Grassley
Q: What can Iowans do to help increase farm safety?
A: National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 20-26, and provides an excellent opportunity to promote and inform the general public about issues related to farm safety right as the harvest season begins. National Farm Safety and Health Week was first proclaimed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, and has been recognized by proclamation of the President every year since. This year's theme is "Rural Roadway SafetyAlert, Aware and Alive." As a family farmer in rural New Hartford, I know the dangers that farmers and motorists face as machinery is transferred from field to field. Common sense, planning and proper safety equipment can go a long ways towards making roadways more safe.
Q: What are some ways farmers can promote safety on the roads?
A: The Iowa Department of Transportation's driver's manual recommends that vehicles and equipment being transported at less than 35 mph should have "slow moving vehicle" emblems that are clearly visible, clean and bright. Using warning flashers, signal lights and proper hand signals well in advance of turns can help other motorists know the driver's location and intention. This is important since farmers often turn in places that others may not expect. It's a good idea to use an escort vehicle when possible, especially at night. Take the extra time to pull over if possible when it's safe for motorists to pass. Sharing the road and using Iowa courtesy as much as possible can go a long ways towards preventing accidents.
Q: What are some ways motorists can stay safe near farmers working?
A: Again caution and common sense are important to preventing injuries and fatalities from accidents with farm vehicles. Be on the lookout for slow moving vehicles, and slow down as soon as possible. Often farm vehicles and the equipment being hauled are longer and wider than they appear, which can make passing difficult and risky, especially on rural roads.