Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Georgia Department of Agriculture partner for rural road safety
MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and Georgia Department of Agriculture remind drivers to slow down and pass farm vehicles with care with the fall harvest season in full swing for Georgia farmers.
During the annual “Yield Behind the Wheel” Rural Road Safety campaign at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie as the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are working to reduce the disproportionate number of traffic deaths on rural roads in the United States.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40% of the nation’s highway fatalities in 2021 took place on rural highways even though the United States Census Bureau Annual 2021 Community Survey showed approximately 20 % of the nation’s population lived in rural areas.
Federal crash data showed 36 percent of the fatal crashes in Georgia between 2017 through 2021 took place in rural areas of the state and almost half (49%) of those killed in passenger vehicle crashes on rural roads during the same five-year period were not wearing seat belts compared to 35 percent of those person killed in crashes in urban areas from 2017-2021 were not wearing seat belts.
Sixty percent of persons killed in light pick-up truck crashes on rural roads in Georgia from 2017 to 2021 were not wearing seat belts. Federal crash data shows that persons wearing a seat belt in a light pick-up truck reduce their risk of fatal injury in a crash by 60 percent and persons wearing a seat belt in the front seat of a passenger car reduce their risk of fatal injury in a crash by 45 percent.
“Seat belts save nearly 15,000 lives in our nation every year and taking just a few seconds to buckle up before every trip could one day safe your life or the life of a family member or friend when you least expect it,” Allen Poole, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director said.
“Mistakes happen every day in our lives, including on the road, which is why we all should choose to buckle up before every trip and drive at safe speeds to protect everyone on the road.”
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is partnering with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to remind motorists to be on the lookout for farm vehicles when traveling in rural areas, especially during the fall harvest season.
Farmers have a legal right to operate their equipment on the road and will move over, when possible, to let vehicles pass.
Drivers are reminded to keep their eyes on the road, slow down when approaching farm vehicles, and pass in legal passing zones.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, five people were killed in 180 crashes involving farm or construction vehicles in the state last year, which is a 16 percent decrease from 2018 when there were six people killed in 190 crashes involving farm or construction vehicles.
“As Georgia’s farm families prepare for the upcoming harvest season, Georgians can expect to see more farm vehicles on rural roads across our state,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper said. “I want to encourage all drivers - especially those in rural areas - to watch out for farm equipment, obey the speed limit, and wear a seat belt. Following the rules of the road will help us reduce traffic crashes and help ensure you arrive alive.”
GOHS and the Georgia Department of Agriculture remind all producers to make sure their farm vehicles are equipped with legally required safety warning devices before traveling on the road.
Georgia law requires all farm vehicles and wagons on the road to have orange, triangle-shaped signs.
These signs let other drivers approaching these vehicles know that the vehicle ahead is traveling at a speed that is significantly slower than the normal flow of traffic.
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