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| Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC

The country roads of Minnesota can be scenic short cuts across the state, but, with spring planting under way, we know that farm equipment is back on the road. Sure, it can be slow and bothersome for the amount of road the vehicles take up, but the reality is that the farmers are working.

Over time we've represented a number of people who have been in collisions involving farm equipment. Rarely are the effects minimal.

• Give farm vehicles and hauling trailers more space and remember that they normally travel more slowly.

• Watch for debris falling from the vehicles. If there is debris, it's safer to brake or drive through it than steer into

Diane DeWitte, County Extension Educator offered these safety tips:

"They are really trying to get the work done as efficiently as possible, but they need to be able to eat right and rest if they can."

There have already been a few farm related incidents this year, and while accidents happen, it is important to take as many precautions as possible. Officials stress performing inspections before going out to work, informing family members when they are expected back, and bringing safety equipment like fire extinguishers into the field. When moving in between fields, if possible, have someone follow the farm equipment to put a buffer between the traffic and the tractor.

Safety also includes the general public sharing the road with farm implements.

"Now is the time when there's a lot of work happening and to be patient on the roads because they have to move, they have to use our county roads to move their equipment," says DeWitte.

Trying to take advantage of the good weather, farmers may be moving equipment into the evening hours. While most should have proper lighting and slow moving vehicle notifications, it is important for the general public to be mindful how just how slow they are going.

The key is to slow down and keep a good look out.


  1. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    Please go to and know while we commend this article in farm equipment safety you need to know slot of farmers don't care about your safety because they slap on the abused farm tag and tow things that should not be on the road. I have the pictures to prove it

  2. Mike Bryant

    I think this is the link:

    thank you for reading and the comment

  3. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    Sorry for the misspell on prior web site is

  4. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    What do you do when you receive this...petition and very few in the lawyers profession is willing to take on the fact that the Utility Trailer Industry has NO SET SAFETY STANDARDS!!

    We have the evidence Mr. Bryant!!! Where are the Lawyers who make companies responsible for their crappy products? Petition

    Priscilla Bruno

    The death of my daughter Makayla Bruno still haunts me to this day. The pain of losing a child never goes away. There are far too many deaths and injuries caused by runaway trailers. We, the undersigned, are asking our state and federal safety officials to get a grasp on this very serious safety hazard. We do not want to lose one more loved one by these tragic accidents.


    Owner of trailer that caused deadly accident remains unknown

    By Kirk Brown

    Published Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    ANDERSON — A year has passed since a detached utility trailer caused a crash on Interstate 85 in Anderson County that killed the parents of two young children.

  5. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    The cold hard it is and U Haul has tried to prevent us from exposing the truth.

    Standards Association. The CSA is interested in the possibility of

    establishing standards for horse trailers.

    As noted at the Animal Transportation Association Vancouver 2012

    international conference on horse transport, the lack of standards in

    the manufacture of non-commercial horse trailers contributes to injury

    and death of horses and humans. Your USRider on-going study of over 800

    known trailer incidents reveals poor quality materials including tires,

    wiring, braking performance, instability at highway speeds, poor welds,

    trailer skin so thin it can be punched through with a fist, shifting

    loads, mismatch between trailer and tow vehicle, tow vehicle and trailer

    separation, overloading, no mandatory recall on defective parts, and

    horses thrown or falling from the trailer and posing an additional road


    As well, few trailers meet the Five Freedoms endorsed by animal welfare

    interests: providing an environment conducive to normal behavior, rest,

    drinking and eating, and which minimizes the risk of injury, mental or

    physical distress, or disease.

    Currently, there are no standards in North America for manufacturing

    horse trailers. To the best of my knowledge, standards are also

    non-existent in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.

  6. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    Barnidge: Some hitches in utility trailer safety

    By Tom Barnidge

    Contra Costa Times Columnist

    Posted: 08/10/2011 03:39:29 PM PDT

    Updated: 08/10/2011 03:39:30 PM PDT

    It was on a poorly lighted roadway in the dark of night that Ron Melancon bumped into the cause that's occupied him for eight years.

    The Richmond, Va., resident was at the wheel of the family car when he plowed into the back of a homemade trailer. It had no taillights or reflectors, and it was painted black, which made it virtually impossible to see.

    He was surprised a second time when he learned that such a towing arrangement was perfectly legal in his state. There were no regulations on trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds in Virginia.

    That's when Melancon, a former emergency medical technician, decided to learn more about how utility trailers are regulated in the U.S. He discovered that 10 states don't require registration, and nine don't require safety chains -- a fail-safe measure that keeps trailers secured if a tow hitch fails.

    Then came a more worrisome discovery: He found that accidents involving trailers account for about 400 fatalities and 21,000 injuries each year. He unearthed a letter from then-Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta to Congress stating that accidents involving vehicles towing trailers increased 36 percent from 1992 to 2000.

    The more he learned, the more perplexed he became.

    He regularly scours the Web for news accounts of trailer accidents. His findings appear across the top of his website, "Since 1975, 15,592


    lives lost." The pull-down tabs at the top of the home page lead to an archive of tragedies: "Homemade trailer slams into truck"; "Loose trailer takes life of 19-year-old"; "One dead in car collision with trailer."

    Inadequate hitches, hitches that are improperly attached and the absence of safety chains often are cited in the worst accidents. Homemade trailers, which can be licensed in some states without inspection, are involved alarmingly often. (In California, a DMV safety verification is required.)

    Perhaps the most outrageous incident occurred in 2010 near Grand Rapids, Mich., where a 46-year-old grandmother was killed when a utility trailer broke loose from a van, crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into her SUV. The trailer had been secured by a makeshift hitch made of duct tape and metal screws.

    Melancon's safety campaign has earned mentions in newspapers across the country, from USA Today to the Washington Post to the Los Angeles Times. He's fought a one-man battle, almost bereft of funding, but he's made his mark.

    Largely because of his lobbying, Virginia now requires reflective tape on all trailer backs. (California requires one taillight on even the smallest trailers.) He persuaded Lowe's stores to attach reflectors to the trailers they sell. Arizona officials contacted him recently to consult on trailer safety. That, however, is only a part of his concern. He says the registration process needs to be tightened. Vehicle identification numbers, which are glued rather engraved onto trailer frames, are so easily replaced that theft and fraud are commonplace.

    One popular scam is to buy a manufactured trailer, insure it, then remove the VIN and report it as stolen. Re-branding it as a homemade trailer with a new license plate can be as simple as filing bogus paperwork with another state.

    Melancon did this recently to prove his point. He applied from Virginia for a Maine trailer license with a fabricated VIN (ST467OL499EN17I99AM). For a $50 fee, he received his license plate in the mail with official documentation. Apparently no one noticed the message hidden in the VIN if you remove the numbers: STOLEN I AM.

  7. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    What do you do when nobody in Washington responds to this family.

    Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:32 AM

    Subject: Letter-House of Rep.

    Allow me to begin by introducing my wife and myself; my name is Stephen Richardson and my wife is Robin Richardson. The night of May 20, 2004 we received a call informing us that our son, Stephen Richardson, Jr. had been in an accident along with five of his friends. They were returning home from the Class 4A state baseball championship game, which was held in Lafayette. Upon receiving the call from one of the kids’ father my wife and I left for the Lady of The Lake Hospital. I will say that we did not automatically think the worst. The children began arriving via ambulance and air-med. Our son was not among them. After hours of asking questions it became painfully obvious, our son would not be coming back to us. Why? All because a towed vehicle broke free, crossed the median, and struck the truck our son was a passenger in.

    The accident happened at mile marker 138.6 of the east bound lane of Interstate 10 in Iberville Parish. The coupling on the tow bar on the towed vehicle came off of the ball. The “safety” chains broke allowing this terrible chain of events to take place. The towed vehicle actually struck the towing vehicle, and then crossed the median. As this took place around 10PM and the vehicle had no lights, our children had indication that a vehicle was heading toward them. They had no chance. The truck our son was riding in broadsided the run-away vehicle. Even though all of the occupants in our son’s vehicle had their seatbelts on; all required medical attention, hospital stays and/or extensive surgery, except for the driver and our son, Stephen. Thank God all are doing well today.

    We recollect the memory of that night when any of us pass a vehicle on the road with a vehicle haphazardly in tow. What has moved us into action was a news piece on the Graco side drop baby cribs being, not only recalled but taken off the market but banned as well. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued this remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs and contact LaJobi to receive a free hardware retrofit kit that will immobilize the drop side. CPSC urges parents and caregivers to find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. To prevent further child deaths and injuries, Senator Gillibrand is introducing federal legislation that would make it illegal to manufacture, sell or re-sell any and all drop-side cribs. Gillibrand's legislation would also ban drop-side cribs from public facilities including day care centers and hotels and toughen enforcement, giving CPSC the authority to levy civil or criminal penalties on suppliers or venders that knowingly sell or re-sell banned drop-side cribs. This action was taken because of an average of 3.2 deaths per year since 2000 nationwide, and rightly so. But, if the number of deaths is what moves one into action ponder this. Since 1975 an average of 8.6 deaths per year occurred due to faulty towing apparatus just in the state of Louisiana. We cannot help but wonder if this type of action had been taken earlier to recall faulty apparatus, educate through public service announcements, and/or a ban on these products with a recommendation to find an alternative safe way to tow, that the average of deaths per year would have dropped dramatically. We are not disillusioned that somehow our son’s life could have been spared. We are asking you, as law makers, to not be disillusioned either. We cannot look back, except to learn from the past. Our hope lies only in what we have learned and how we use it to make a difference for the future. You can make a difference.

    We have 5 other children who travel our state highways. We thought what happened to Stephen was one of those “one in a million chances”. What we have come to understand is that, the odds of this happening to anyone, is greater than we thought.

    We want to join you, in anyway that we can, in making a difference. We will do our P.A.R.T. (Parents Against Reckless Towing). Our son is honored every year with a baseball tournament in his memory; the Stephen Richardson Memorial Tournament sponsored by East Ascension High School. Many have died, all over the country, due to dangerous towing. Please know that what ever you can do through legislation that can bring awareness, knowledge and accountability when it comes to towing safely will bring honor to all who have died.


    Stephen & Robin Richardson

  8. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    Does anybody understand that a loose trailer hit an airplane last month but nobody at the NTSB goes and investigates why a defective trailer hitch snapped!!! but they investigate a train derailment?

    Why does a Airplane have to get destroyed before anybody wakes up?

  9. Gravatar for Ron Melancon
    Ron Melancon

    Mr. Bryant...this all started with your article on FARM EQUIPMENT SAFETY. Go to this link and see the total garbage Farmers tow on PUBLIC ROADS...And then see this Penskie Truck towing a totally defective boat trailer that can destroy another person like Natalie.

    Facebook...Prayers For Natalie...some day we will get Natalie on National Television and expose the truth that for some reason lawyers do not address.


  10. Mike Bryant

    Thanks for all the comments, I was gone this week with a family trip to DC, but very much appreciate the information you have added.

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