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The Tractor Rollover Accident: Deadly for More than Operators

The tractor rollover is one of the leading causes of death for United States farmworkers. Annually, almost 100 people die in these accidents. There are several reasons why such an accident may occur; most of them are avoidable.

Causes for Tractor Rollover Accidents

Speed is a factor for many of these accidents. Driving too fast for the conditions can lead to a tractor rollover accident. Slowing down is the easiest solution for preventing this. Driving on steep slopes, striking surface hazards, heavy loads with front-end loaders and running into ditches can also lead to rollover accidents.

Operating the tractor at a reasonable speed for the conditions and avoiding hazards like steep slopes, ditches and holes can reduce the likelihood of an accident. When the surface you are driving on is rough, slippery or muddy, driving at a slower speed can reduce your chances of a rollover. How you operate the machine is also a factor. Avoid jerky turns, stops and starts.

Rollover Protective Structures

Since 1976, it has been a requirement for manufacturers to equip agricultural and industrial tractors with rollover protective structures (ROPS.) These lifesaving structures include roll bars that are placed behind the driver’s seat and enclosed cab areas, which have the added advantage of protecting the driver from inclement weather.

Older tractors, those manufactured before October 1975, may not have these safety features, however, they can be purchased and retro-fitted on the equipment. Even when you must work with older equipment, you can still increase its safety by installing ROPS.

The Costs of Tractor Rollover Accidents

The majority of fatal injuries on farms are caused by tractor rollover accidents. Besides the death of the operator, in a fatal accident, seven-out-of-ten farms go out of business within five years of the accident. Families are greatly affected because the operator is often the head of household and an experienced operator. Older operators are most at risk for these types of accidents. They most often occur on farms involving crop production.

Tractor rollover accidents can be prevented when operators have ROPS installed on their equipment and when they operate the equipment with care. If you are using older equipment manufactured before October 1975, be sure to get ROPS that are professionally manufactured. Making your own may not provide the measure of safety needed.

Michael Gasperian and the attorneys at Maison Law have extensive expertise in personal injury law. If you are looking for excellent and compassionate legal assistance, contact us. Our main office is located in Visalia, CA.

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