Safety Status of Farm Tractors that Operate on Public Highways in Four Rural Kentucky Counties

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Piercy, Larry R.;
  • Cole, Henrey;
  • Westneat, Susan C.;
  • Heinz, Katheryn L.;
  • Arrowsmith, Heather E.;
  • Raymond, Katrina M.


Kentucky FFA students inspected 153 farm tractors for safety features that prevent operator injuries during tractor overturns, highway collisions, runovers, and power take-off (PTO) entanglements. Tractor mean age was 23.6 years (SD = 20.9). Rollover protective structures (ROPS) were present on 50.66% of tractors, but only 33.33% of these had functional seatbelts. Loose and damaged seats were found on 30.46% of tractors. In 38.99% of cases, tractor rear-wheel fenders exposed operators to moving tractor tires, and 48.67% of tractors had dangerously worn or damaged tires. Tractors with a narrow front-end stance comprised 16.11% of the total. Only 53.06% of the tractors had starters with secure hard cover by-pass starting shields that fully covered the starter terminals, and 37.37% had fully exposed terminals with no cover. PTO master shields with all parts present and undamaged were present on only 29.27% of the tractors, and in 39.02% of cases the entire shield was missing. Only 44.67% of the tractors had properly mounted and fully functional mounting and dismounting access steps and handholds. SMV emblems were missing on 53.64% of tractors and in the proper place and condition in only 25.83% of cases. Tractors with properly mounted and fully functional head and tail lights comprised 40.94% of the sample, and tractors with no functional lights comprised 24.16%. Properly mounted, clean, and functional rearview mirrors were present on only 19.87% of the tractors, and 69.54% had no rearview mirrors. The project increased farming and non-farming students' awareness of tractor safety issues, provided empirical data about the safety status of a sample of tractors that frequently travel public highways in four rural Kentucky farming counties, and promoted dialog about these issues with adult farmers and other community members with whom the students interacted.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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