PROJECT: Community Campaign to Reduce Farm-Vehicle Roadway Crashes

Project Dates: 2022-2027

Investigators and Students:

Some members of this study team were among the first researchers to identify the prevalence of farm equipment crashes on rural roadways.

Principal Investigators:

Cara Hamann, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of Iowa

Laura Schwab-Reese, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Public Health, Purdue University

Research Team:

Subcontract PI: Josie Rudolphi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana

Consultant: Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research, UC San Diego

Biostatistician: Joseph Cavanaugh, PhD

Research Coordinator: Laura Eckles

Students: Emily Acers and  Nazma Noray

New collaboration alert!  Purdue University Dr. Schwab-Reese is an Assistant Professor at Purdue University, who has a long publication record with UI investigators but who brings new collaborators from the College of Health and Human Sciences, serving as a potential bridge between researchers in Ag Safety and Health and the robust statewide Extension and Outreach program in Indiana.

Study Background

Crashes are a leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the ag industry. Most farm vehicle-related crashes occur when a driver or passenger vehicle rear-ends a farm vehicle or while they are attempting to overtake one. Speeding is also a common contributor to farm-vehicle crashes.

Prevention strategies targeting non-farm vehicle drivers are limited in number and scope. Our research one in on behaviors that can be changed: Leave more space. Avoid passing. Slow down.

Farm equipment crashes, which often involve a vehicle rear-ending or passing the farm equipment, are frequent causes of injury. Occupants in the non-farm vehicle are the most likely to be injured in these frequently severe crashes.

In order to better understand risk factors for rural roadway crashes–especially those involving farm equipment–we have developed a video/GPS system to record vehicle interactions with farm equipment.

If successful, approaches from this GPCAH study could be widely implemented to improve rural roadway safety and/or adapted to address other leading causes of agricultural injuries and deaths.

Specific Aims

Stage I aims to Translate the “We’re on This Road Together” community-level rural roadway safety campaign into a toolkit that can be implemented directly by community groups.

Stage 2 aims to: Evaluate the implementation and impact of the “We’re on This Road Together” campaign Toolkit. The toolkit will be disseminated through Extension Educators in Indiana.

Our goal is to reduce the number of farm vehicle-involved crashes, thereby reducing rural deaths and injuries on rural roads. We are developing a low-cost, easily assessable toolkit intervention that can be implemented by individuals in rural communities to achieve this goal.

Community Advisory Board

Board members will include key Extension stakeholders from both Iowa State University (Iowa Extension), Illinois Extension,  and Purdue University (Indiana Extension), at least one member of the community advisory board that built the “We’re on This Road Together” campaign, members of rural communities, and researchers with expertise in partnering with Extension or conducting community-engaged rural safety research. The advisory board will meet two-three times per year. The advisory board will provide feedback on the Toolkit draft. As the advisory board includes a range of perspectives and areas of expertise, they will be able to provide feedback on a variety of key Toolkit factors, such as training strategies that are likely to resonate with Extension Educators.

Previous Work

The proposed project is informed by decades of experience of the project team in road traffic and agricultural safety, with a focus on rural roads. This work was initiated with one of the first studies of crashes with farm equipment, which found that operators of vehicles other than the farm equipment were most frequently at fault for the crash, and occupants of other vehicles were also more likely to be injured than the farm equipment operator. Link to the previous project.

What’s next?

The proposed project is currently working to build the project advisory board, complete focus groups, finalize the Toolkit, complete the conjoint analysis, and recruit Iowa Extension Educations for the Year 2 pilot.


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McFalls M, Ramirez M, Harland K, Zhu M, Morris NL, Hamann C, Peek-Asa C: [2021] Farm vehicle

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Swanton A, Peek-Asa C, Torner J. (2020). Time to definitive care among severely injured farmers

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Harland KK, Bedford R, Wu H, Ramirez M [2018]. Prevalence of alcohol impairment and odds of a

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PMCID: PMC7034777.

Greenan M, Toussaint M, Peek-Asa C, Rohlman D, Ramirez MR: [2017] The effects of roadway

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crashes associated with injury in children


    Page last updated 03/24/2023