A new safety campaign launched by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Alabama Department of Transportation and Alabama Farmers Federation is geared at reducing highway accidents involving slow-moving vehicles (SMVs).

Federation President Jerry A. Newby said the idea for the campaign came from farmers who have lost friends and neighbors when tractors they were driving were struck by passing vehicles.

“As cities and suburban areas expand farther into the country, there’s increased traffic on the public roads farmers use to travel from field to field or from barn to pasture,” Newby said. “By law, tractors and other equipment that cannot travel faster than 25 miles per hour is required to display the reflective, red-and-orange SMV sign. But drivers often don’t realize how quickly they will close the gap on a slow-moving vehicle. This campaign is aimed at educating motorists about the meaning of that sign and encouraging all drivers to be cautious when traveling around farm equipment.”

The safety campaign, dubbed “Farmer at Work,” includes radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) featuring testimonials by farmers and a cautionary word from state troopers. It also features magazine articles, print advertisements, posters and brochures. The Department of Transportation is working with the other partners to distribute the PSAs, posters and brochures.

“It’s important for drivers to remember they share Alabama’s roadways with slow-moving vehicles, especially in rural areas,” said Transportation Director Joe McInnes. “Nearly all crashes in Alabama are caused by driver error or driver behavior, and drivers need to be mindful of the dangers they may encounter or that they may pose to others. I hope we can reduce crashes and save lives by focusing on the importance of sharing the road responsibly around slow-moving vehicles.”

Col. J. Christopher Murphy, director of the Department of Public Safety, said DPS welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Department of Transportation to help educate Alabamians about the state’s slow-moving vehicle law.

“There are many motorists who are unfamiliar with this law and who do not recognize and understand the slow-moving vehicle sign,” said Murphy. “Through the ‘Farmer At Work’ program, we hope to educate all motorists about the special safety considerations when sharing the road with slow-moving vehicles.

“Combining safety awareness with enforcement has proven valuable to Alabama state troopers’ work to promote safety on the state’s roadways. Troopers are pleased to support the ‘Farmer at Work’ public awareness program and its goal of increased safety for Alabama’s farmers.”

While the key message of the “Farmer at Work” PSAs encourages motorists to use caution around slow-moving vehicles, the campaign also includes tips for farmers.

Information about the slow-moving vehicle sign as well as the responsibilities of drivers and farmers is available online at http://www.alfafarmers.org/programs/safety.phtml.