If you were injured in a crash involving a farm vehicle either as a farmer or as a motorist that had a collision with farm equipment, contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.
California produces more revenue from agriculture than any other state in the country. The state has more than 25.5 million acres of farms and ranches. Being located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, Tulare County is perennially at or near the top in the sale of dairy and citrus products in the United States. More than 200 food products are grown here. Trucks, tractors, trailers and other agricultural equipment are on the road daily. That translates into drivers often encountering agricultural vehicles as they travel through San Joaquin County.
Old Enough to Reach the Pedals
The National Safety Council reports that about 15,000 agricultural vehicles are involved in accidents with other vehicles every year. The rules of the road are drilled into us before we even get behind the wheel of a car in high school. What most people don’t realize is that those rules often don’t apply to agricultural vehicles. In fact, a person doesn’t even need to be old enough to have a driver’s license to be able operate an agricultural vehicle on a public highway. His or her legs need only be long enough to reach the pedals. Many children of farmers were driving agricultural vehicles by the time they were 14 years of age.
Agricultural Vehicles After Sunset
As per the California Highway Patrol, agricultural vehicles don’t need headlights, tail lights or brake lights either. Starting 30 minutes after sundown, they need only have one red light on the back and one white light on the front, with both being visible at a distance of 500 feet. At all times, an amber reflector needs to be on the left front of the vehicle with a red reflector on the rear. If the vehicle is traveling at less than 25 mph, it must also have a sign indicating that it’s a slow moving vehicle. It’s an orange triangle with a red border.
Some Common Causes of Agricultural Vehicle Accidents
On rural roads, it’s important to be on the lookout for agricultural vehicles. Even when they’re traveling more than 25 mph, they’re almost always moving much slower than other traffic. Keeping that slow moving speed in mind, here are some common causes of agricultural vehicle accidents in and around Visalia:
- Weather conditions coupled with poor lighting and inadequate agricultural vehicle visibility on the roadway.
- Young and inexperienced agricultural vehicle operators.
- Failure to use slow moving vehicle signs.
- Failure to properly attach equipment being towed.
- Operator carelessness and negligence.
Compliance With State Statutes
Other than the exceptions that California has carved out from the rules of the road, operators of agricultural equipment on public roadways must comply with state laws and operate their vehicles in a safe and careful manner. Depending on their size, agricultural vehicles might also fall under the purview of California laws governing the use of oversized vehicles. Failure to follow oversized vehicle laws might constitute negligence.
We’ll Build Your Case
Accidents that are caused by agricultural vehicles can quickly become complicated and confusing. They can require extensive investigations for purposes of establishing liability. That’s just one of the reasons why you need to start working with an experienced and effective personal injury law firm from the onset. While you’re recovering from your injuries and working on reaching maximum medical improvement, we can be working on the investigation of your case, assembling the evidence from it and compiling that evidence into an articulable and strong legal case on your behalf.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash that was caused by the operator of an agricultural vehicle in or around Visalia, Tulare County or the San Joaquin Valley, don’t cooperate with the opposing insurance company. You’ll likely make irreparable mistakes that it will use against you in the future. No law in California requires you to help that insurance company with its defense against you. Contact us instead to arrange for a consultation and case evaluation at no cost whatsoever. We want to hear what happened on that roadway along with how it turned your life upside down. We’re going to answer your questions, and you’ll be fully advised on our opinion of what the best legal option is for you. If we’re retained to represent you, no legal fees are even due unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Don’t hesitate to contact us.