Instrumented Farm Vehicle Roadway Study

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

Self-propelled sprayers are driven on roadways from field to field.

“This is the first study to use vehicle and roadway GPS and video technology on farm vehicles to develop a safety campaign to improve rural roadway driving behavior at the community-level.” – PI Cara Hamann


Why is this research important?


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.

Who’s on the research team?


Principal Investigator: Cara Hamann MPH PhD

PI: Cara Hamann MPH PhD

Corinne Peek-Asa PhD

Corinne Peek-Asa

Anton Kruger PhD

Anton Kruger

Natoshia Askelson MPH PhD

Natoshia Askelson MPH PhD

Joseph Cavanaugh PhD

Joseph Cavanaugh PhD

Michelle Reyes, Project Coordinator

Michelle Reyes: Project Coordinator

Research Assistants

  • Nichole Griffith, Undergrad Engineering RA
  • David Wu,  Undergrad Engineering RA
  • Jim Niemeier, Engineering, Assistant Research Scientist
  • Cheryl Roe, Engineering/NADS, Staff Research Assistant
  • Felicia Pieper, Community & Behavioral Health, Research Assistant
  • Whitney Bash-Brooks, Community & Behavioral Health, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Henna McCoy, Injury Prevention Research Center/Epidemiology, Graduate Assistant


What is SaferTrek?


SaferTrek attached to a vehicle.

SaferTrek attached to a vehicle.

SaferTrek is a rear-facing GPS data acquisition system designed to capture the frequency and types of driving behaviors of rear-approaching vehicles. We are examining behaviors such as speed, deceleration while approaching farm equipment, following distance, number of passing attempts, and passing.

What are we doing now?


  • Phase 1: We are using our SaferTrek data collection system to objectively observe vehicles as they approach farm equipment. The aims are to a) measure farm equipment exposure to the roadyway (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.
  • Phase 2: We are currently developing a community-level safety campaign that emphasizes increased driver awareness and error reduction when sharing the road with farm equipment. Once development is complete we will implement and evalutate the campaign. 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 efectiveness of a community campaign to improve driver behavior when approaching farm equipment on the roadway, using objective data from SaferTrek. The community intervention will use a two-community design with one intervention and one control community. The intervention will deliver tailored messages through local small media (e.g., newspapers, businesses, and farm operators).

What’s next?


Over the next year we will continue to collect roadway data of farm vehicle and passenger car interactions. We will also finish development of our community campaign and implement it into our intervention community. Following campaign implementation, we will collect additional data to evaluate its effectiveness on driving behavior, attitudes, and perceptions.


    1. Harland KK, Greenan M, Ramirez M. (2014) Not just a rural occurrence: Differences in agricultural equipment crash characteristics by rural–urban crash site and proximity to town. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 70(8): 8‐13.
    2. Toussaint M, Faust K, Peek-Asa C, Ramirez M.  (2015) Characteristics of farm equipment-related crashes associated with injury in children and adolescents on farm equipment. Journal of Rural Health. DOI:10.111/jrh/1262, Epub ahead of print.
    3. Ramirez M, Bedford R, Wu H, Harland K, Cavanaugh JE, Peek-Asa C (2016). Lighting and marking policies are associated with reduced farm equipment-related crash rates: a policy analysis of nine Midwestern US states. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epub ahead of print.
    4. Ranapurwala SI, Mello ER, Ramirez MR (2016). A GIS-based matched case-control study of road characteristics in farm vehicle crashes. Epidemiology, Epub ahead of print.
    5. Swanton AR, Young TL, Peek-Asa C. Characteristics of fatal agricultural injuries by production type. J Agric Saf Health. 2016 Jan;22(1):75-85. doi:10.13031/jash.22.11244. Cited in PubMed;PMCID: PMC5731450
    6. Ramirez M, Bedford R, Wu H, et al. Lighting and marking policies are associated with reduced farm equipment-related crash rates: A policy analysis of nine Midwestern US states. Occup Environ Med. 2016 Sept;73(9):621-6. doi:10.1136/oemed-2016-103672. Cited in PubMed; PMCID: PMC5013097
    7. Ranapurwala SI, Mello ER, Ramirez MR. A GIS-based matched case-control study of road characteristics in farm vehicle crashes. Epidemiology. 2016 Nov;27(6):827-34. doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000542. PMCID:
    8. Missikpode C, Peek-Asa C, Wright B, et al. Characteristics of agricultural and occupational injuries by workers’ compensation and other payer sources. Am J Ind Med. 2019;62(11):969-977. doi:10.1002/ajim.23040. Cited in PubMed; PMCID: PMC6944284.
    9. McFalls M, Ramirez M, Harland K, Zhu M, Morris N, Hamann C, Peek-Asa C. Farm vehicle crashes on public roads: Analysis of farm-level factors. J Rural Health. 2021 Sept. Available online 24 Sept 2021. doi: PMCID: NA.
    10. Hamann CJ, Dale E, Schwab-Reese L, Askelson N, Peek-Asa C. Community engagement in the development and implementation of a rural road safety campaign: Steps and lessons learned. J of Tran Health. 2021 Dec:(23). Available online 23 Oct 2021. doi: PMCID: Coming soon.


Page last updated 11/01/2021