A state law passed three years ago
requires the use of brighter, longer-lasting SMV emblems on all
vehicles that are operated on Illinois public roads and designed and
adapted exclusively for agricultural, horticultural and livestock
operations. The new emblems must be in place by Sept. 1, said Bob
Aherin, University of Illinois Extension safety specialist.
"Farmers should purchase and use only
SMV emblems that meet American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE)
standard S276.5," Aherin said. "Look for this standard designation
on the emblem. You cannot use an SMV emblem that meets an older
version of the ASAE standard, such as S276.3 or S276.4."
According to Aherin, these
new-generation emblems will last much longer and are 10 times
brighter than previous versions. They dramatically improve the
visibility of farm equipment on public roadways, helping to reduce
the risk of collision.
Enhancing the visibility of
agricultural equipment on public roadways is an ongoing concern for
the farming community, Aherin explained. In a seven-year study,
Illinois averaged 235 to 240 accidents per year involving farm
equipment, with 100 serious injuries and six deaths each year.
Because farms are getting larger,
producers must often travel farther on narrow rural roads that were
constructed decades earlier, he added. New farm equipment is larger
and can extend into the opposing lane of traffic. What's more, the
markings on older farm equipment can be poor or nonexistent.
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All of these factors raise the risk for
motorists, who are often unaware of the need for caution or do not
see the equipment fast enough to react appropriately.
To cut this risk even more, Aherin and
Illinois Farm Bureau special activities manager Dave Patton advise
farmers to take safety emblems a step further with additional
markings not required by current state law.
"While motorists frequently take note
of the reflective SMV emblem, they may be unable to gauge the width
of farm equipment at night, occasionally clipping the extremities on
an implement," Aherin said.
Therefore, he and Patton recommend new
packages of safety emblems, which contain additional red and
fluorescent orange horizontal bars. Farmers are encouraged to place
these 2-by-9-inch markings alternately at the rear of each
implement, with red to the outside, orange to the inside. Similarly
sized amber reflectors should be mounted on the front within 16
inches of the left and right extremities and along the sides of the
markings and the new required SMV emblem packages are included in a
Fewer Accidents with Reflective Materials kit. This Illinois State
Police FARM program safety kit is available from county Farm
Bureaus, some farm equipment dealers and farm supply stores in
of Illinois news release]