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New technology may help during tractor accidents

Farming poses many risks for workers. One of the most dangerous risks for farm workers is being involved in a tractor accident. Tractor rollovers cause the most fatal farm accidents in the country, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. They report that roughly 250 fatal accidents are caused by tractor rollovers every year.

To address the risk of being in a tractor accident, researchers have started designing and testing a mobile device application that could potentially save farm workers from being killed in tractor rollover accidents. The University of Missouri is testing an app that uses sensors and a GPS device to detect tractor rollovers. When a rollover is detected, the app sends an emergency email and text message to alert others of the location of the accident.

The app is still being tested on standard tractors to see how well it works but researchers are hopeful that it will work on all tractors. This mobile app could be a lifesaver for many farm workers in Illinois and throughout the country because many tractor rollover accidents do not happen near a road or house where someone would notice it.

Sadly, many tractor accidents go unnoticed for hours. That is where the new mobile app can help by sending an emergency message since many victims of tractor accidents end up pinned underneath the tractor or are unconscious and cannot reach a cellphone.

Illinois and other states in the Midwest have the highest rate of fatal tractor accidents compared to the rest of the country. Many farm workers use tractors as the main source of power while working. Unfortunately, tractors have always been risky because they are unstable, especially when travelling on hilly areas or when the tractor is turning too fast.

While this app does not improve tractor safety, it would help victims of tractor accidents and make more people aware of the dangers associated with working on a tractor. 

 

Source: AG Weekly, "App automatically calls for help after a tractor accident," April 24, 2013

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