FORT LORAMIE — Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart gave a presentation regarding driver safety during farm harvest season to a group of students at Fort Loramie High School, Tuesday, Sept. 25.
The segment was sponsored by Seger Farms, Siegel Farms, Laneview Farms, and John and Teresa Puthoff. Students were provided a light breakfast, and the opportunity to participate in a raffle drawing to win one of four $25 Wagner’s IGA gift cards.
Lenhart, along with Fort Loramie Police Chief Nathan Brown, displayed a PowerPoint presentation full of facts and tips about teenage driving, as well as information about road-sharing with farm equipment.
According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, car crashes kill more young people than any other cause, accounting for nearly half of all teen deaths in America each year. In 2015, over 2,300 teens lost their lives in car crashes.
Additionally, on a per-mile driven basis, teens ages 16 through 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than older drivers.
In rural farming areas, like Fort Loramie, the risks associated with driving are also increased due to the presence of farming equipment vehicles sharing the road with drivers.
““In the last two years, we’ve had two fatal accidents with young persons who were driving and ran into the back of farm equipment,” Lenhart said.
Speed and distraction are two factors that play into the overall risk of travel, he said. In less than five seconds, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph can traverse the distance of an entire football field.
“I see people who are texting (or) on the phone,” Lenhart said. “They’re eating, they’re drinking, and some will have a big dog in the back and a lap dog in front — talk about a distraction. Those are the kinds of things that get us all in trouble.”
Lenhart noted that farm equipment often wider than the lane of travel, which calls for awareness and consideration from citizens traveling in both directions.
“Farm equipment is more than 8 feet wide, so when you’re traveling down the road, trying to get around, be patient,” Lenhart said.
He added that it is important for farmers to pull over, when they can do so safely, in order to allow those traveling behind them to pass.
Whether a farmer has pulled over to allow passing or not, Lenhart advised drivers to pass with caution by being mindful of other vehicles which may want to pass, by making sure you can see clearly ahead of both you and the vehicle you will pass, and by making your presence known by using your car’s horn to alert the farmer that you are attempting to pass.
It is also important to be aware of all “No Passing” zones, and to refrain from passing within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad crossing, bridge, elevated structure or tunnel, and to never pass if there are any curves or hills ahead that may block the view of oncoming vehicles.
Reach the writer at 937-583-4825.