EU AG vehicle accidents priority actions

Compared with accidents with other vehicles, the number of on-road accidents with agricultural vehicles in the EU is low. Source: AFDJ eNews

The risk of being involved in an on-road accident is lower (-82%) per hour worked for new tractors (<13 yrs. old) than for old ones. With 56% of all road accidents with tractors resulting in injury (and 69% of all road accidents with fatal injuries) happen with tractors which have been in use for more than 12 years – proof of the substantial advances in active and passive road safety that have been implemented in the past years.

In 2014, 178 persons were killed in road accidents with an agricultural tractor in the EU, representing 0.7% of the 25.107 persons killed that year in EU road traffic.

However, the percentage of a fatal outcome is, comparatively speaking, higher in an on-road accident with an agricultural vehicle due to the vehicles’ particular characteristics.

In other words, even if the risk of colliding with an agricultural vehicle on the road is low, the risk of a serious injury or fatality in case of an accident is somewhat elevated.

The biggest factor contributing to on-road accidents with agricultural vehicles is their slow speed. Typically, they are the slowest vehicle on the road.

Dimensions are another contributing factor: many agricultural vehicles are much wider than surrounding vehicles, mainly due to a wider chassis or wider tyres.

When a dangerous situation arises, it is therefore important that the other road users (rather than the agricultural vehicle itself) are enabled and empowered to perform evasive actions in a safe and timely manner.

This is a challenge, since traffic density in the EU is rising while the average distance between vehicles is decreasing.

The approach towards future accident prevention must therefore be twofold:

  1. To ensure that other road users are notified as early as possible of an approaching or manoeuvring agricultural vehicle ahead.
  2. To prevent a dangerous situation with an agricultural vehicle from arising in the first place.

The necessary technologies to advance on both these points are already available or in preparation. With their help, it will be possible to reduce on-road accidents with agricultural vehicles to a minimum.

In line with this, CEMA has identified five priority actions as the most effective and efficient ways forward and has now called on the EU, member states & stakeholders to make a joint effort to implement these actions as a matter of priority.

  1. Create a uniform European accident reporting system
  2. Better lighting & signalling for greater visibility of old farm machines on the road
  3. Boost driver training to ensure greater awareness & alertness of drivers
  4. Enable Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication: the ultimate prevention tool for hazardous situations & accidents
  5. Enable optional installation of mirrors or camera systems at the front of the vehicle