Large agricultural vehicles get an A+

Large agricultural vehicles safety report


Machinery
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NFF and James Cook University release report into large agricultural vehicle safety.

A UNIVERSITY and industry study has found contrary to public perception, large agricultural vehicles, such as spray rigs, tractors and headers, travelling on public roads are relatively low risk. 

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NUMBERS BACK IT UP: A new study by James Cook University in partnership with the National Farmers Federation have found large agricultural vehicles are safer than average.

NUMBERS BACK IT UP: A new study by James Cook University in partnership with the National Farmers Federation have found large agricultural vehicles are safer than average.

The new report, produced by James Cook University with assistance from the National Farmers Federation (NFF), concluded large agricultural vehicles are involved in less than 0.3 per cent or road deaths in Australia, and less than 90 road incidents recorded per annum. 

By comparison, more then 33,000 people are hospitalised across the country due to road crashes. 

NFF, economics committee chair, Wayne Dunford said it was important to understand these statistics. 

“Ready access to our roads is crucial for farmers, as we go about producing food and fibre for Australia and the world,” he said. 

“What we see in this report is that, relative to other road users, agricultural vehicles are a relatively low safety risk.”

However, Mr Dunford said the report did call for educating the general public, to improve their driving behaviour around large agricultural vehicles.

“While we want to improve road access for large agricultural vehicles, we cannot afford to be complacent about safety,” he said.

“One recommendation is to add a section in the drivers licencing process to educate young drivers about what to do around large agricultural vehicles, which is certainly something that that should be looked at.”

The report also recommended campaigns aimed to raise public awareness of the characteristics of large agricultural vehicles, for example slower operational speeds and oversized nature, and what to do when you encounter these vehicles. 

Mr Dunford said the use of agricultural vehicles on roads was controlled by state road managers, with requirements placed on farmers to have signage, lights and pilots depending on the size of the vehicle.

He said road managers had previously not had access to quantitative surveying of the actual risks. 

“Especially in a drought like we are in right now, facilitating safe road access for farmers is a great way to remove red tape and support our farmers without spending any public money,” he said.

“This report shows that large agricultural vehicles are a very small road safety risk, and we hope that politicians take a good hard look at these findings and make road access for agricultural vehicles easier.

“We are all for increasing awareness of all drivers about what to do when encountering agricultural vehicles on the road to make the roads safe, but let’s work from the facts not assumptions.”

The story Large agricultural vehicles get an A+ first appeared on Farm Online.

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