While the total number of farm-related fatalities and injuries in Iowa remained constant last year, 1999 will be remembered as a deadly one as far as tractors are concerned.
"Nearly half of all agricultural fatalities reported in Iowa involved a farm tractor," said Charles Schwab, Iowa State University Extension safety specialist. "That's 24 Iowans who lost their lives while they were driving, riding or working around a tractor, which is significantly more than we've had in recent years."
Schawb monitors farm-related injuries from news reports. He also analyzes the detailed agricultural injury and fatality information that has been collected by the Iowa Department of Public Health since 1990. The department recently released its 1999 report showing 49 deaths and 1,670 injuries related to agricultural operations in Iowa.
Of the 24 tractor deaths, 15 happened when the tractor overturned; four people were run over by a tractor, two were the result of traffic collisions and three deaths were listed as miscellaneous causes. Schwab speculates that people run over by a tractor could have been riders who fell off the vehicle, other people unable to be seen in the work area or operators attempting a by-pass start. One-third of the victims were age 65 or older, he added.
Read the rest of this article in the 9/16 Pilot Tribune.