Instrumented Farm Vehicle Roadway Study

Principal Investigators:  Corinne Peek-Asa PhD, Anton Kruger MS PhDCara Hamann MPH PhD

Research Team:  Natoshia Askelson, Marizen Ramirez, Dan McGehee, Joseph Cavanaugh

Transportation is a leading mechanism for agricultural fatality and injury. Farm equipment crashes, which often involve a vehicle rear-ending or passing the farm equipment, are frequent causes of injury. This project involves two phases in which we will first use novel technology to objectively observe vehicles as they approach farm equipment, and in the second phase will use this information to develop a community-level safety campaign to improve driver behavior when sharing the road with farm equipment.

In the first phase we will use SafeTrek, an innovative GPS/video integrated data system developed by our research team to record farm equipment roadway exposure and behavior of vehicle drivers approaching the farm equipment from behind. The aims are to a) measure farm equipment exposure to the roadway (miles traveled, location) and the frequency with which cars approach the farm equipment; and b) identify behavior of vehicle drivers as they approach farm equipment from behind. Behaviors to be examined include speed, deceleration while approaching farm equipment, following distance, number of passing attempts, and passing.

Self-Propelled Sprayer

Self-Propelled Sprayers are driven on roadways from field to field.

In the second phase, we will develop, implement, and evaluate a community-level intervention to increase driver awareness and reduce driving errors in order to protect farm equipment operators. The aims in this phase are to a) estimate the effectiveness of a community campaign by measuring change in attitude and perceptions of threat, efficacy, and norms about safe driving around farm equipment via surveys and interviews; and b) measure effectiveness of a community campaign to improve driver behavior when approaching farm equipment on the roadway, using objective data from SafeTrek. The community intervention will use a 2-community design with one intervention and one control community. The intervention will deliver tailored messages through local newspapers, radio stations, businesses, and farm operators.

This will be the first study to use vehicle and roadway GPS and video technology for a community-level intervention.


Photos of the SmartTrek Prototype.

SmartTrek Prototype, outer casing


SmartTrek Prototype, inside