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Farm-related deaths down last year

SPRINGFIELD -- There is good news for our state's biggest business. Illinois saw fewer farm-related deaths last year than in previous decades.
SPRINGFIELD -- There is good news for our state's biggest business. Illinois saw fewer farm-related deaths last year than in previous decades.

Officials are telling farmers and drivers to be cautious, as this year's bumper crop could lead to more traffic on the roads and the potential for more accidents. Dave Sagle knows all too well the hazards drivers and farmers face when sharing the roadway.

"Most people don't realize how slow we're going. You just always watch in your mirror and hope they slow down or go around you. There's nothing you can do, just stay on your side and hope they miss you."

A new Country Financial Report shows two-thirds of the state's 12 farm-related deaths last year, happened on the roadway.

"We can only run bout 35 to 40 mile an hour with a load of corn and if you're running 65 or 70, you're going to be on us too fast," said Sagle.

Those deaths, from July 2012 to June 2013, were the fewest the state has seen in 35 years. It could be because farmers spent less time harvesting, due to the drought. Sagle said there was less traffic on the roadways.

But this year, officials are urging drivers to be extra cautious, as there are more crops in the fields and more traffic on the road.

Sable said, "We're going to have a bumper crop again this year, and it's going to cause more trips for the farmers so again you're going to encounter these vehicles, these slow-moving vehicles more often. So, we just have to be aware that they're out there and the word we're looking for here is patience."

Officials say drivers should slow down when they see grain trucks and other farm vehicles, and do not try to pass farm vehicles on or near curves.

Sable said, "You just got to pay attention to what's out there."

Officials say county roads are especially dangerous around dusk and drivers should pay close attention as the sun goes down.
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