Roughly half of U.S. tractors do not have rollbars and tractor overturns are the leading cause of deaths on farms, according to the National Tractor Safety Coalition (NTSC).
Think about your market and the possibility that half of the tractors don’t have this necessary safety protection. Then, think about the experience level of those who are operating those machines. How many could be rural lifestylers who are new to driving tractors? And, even experienced operators are at risk: 80% of overturn fatalities involve experienced operators, according to a study by the University of Iowa School of Public Health.
You may have heard those statistics before and may be aware of the National Tractor Safety Coalition and its National ROPS Rebate Program, which offers incentives for tractor owners to have ROPS installed. Here’s an update on what’s going on with the program — and why you should become involved.
The program is funded through state allocations and contributions, as well as private donations. Right now, programs are established in Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin. Based on funding, the program hopes to expand to Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, says Pam Tinc, senior research coordinator at the New York Center for Agriculture Health and Medicine. The center helps administer and promote the rebate program.
“Our goal in the next few years is to have the program standardized and available to every farmer in the country,” says Tinc.
Tinc says individual dealers, dealer associations and manufacturers have contributed in the past and many share the information with their customers. More funding is needed to expand the program. “Some manufacturers feel they can’t donate to the cause because it might potentially be seen as a conflict of interest,” Tinc says.
Dealers, is that the case? From the viewpoint of a customer, I just don’t see it. It’s in the best interest of you and your manufacturers’ customers to help them find the funds they need to add life-saving equipment as well as provide your professional services to make sure the equipment is installed correctly.
I encourage you to go the rebate site and see how you can become involved. Donate; request promotional materials to display at your dealership; see about ways your manufacturer could contribute; or find ways to bring the program to your state. And, see how your dealer association could play a role as well.
There are many great charitable organizations that you’re already involved with, either through donations or volunteer efforts. If you’re too busy to take on another one, consider having someone on your team take the lead. Start small and simply go to the National ROPS Rebate Program website to learn more.