Rural & Farm Safety

Rural Farm Safety

Definition: Rural areas have higher injury fatality rates than urban areas. This disparity is related to environmental, behavioral, and occupational factors. For example, the increased incidence of motor vehicle crashes in rural areas may be the result of narrow lanes, less visible traffic signs, fewer traffic lights, and the ability to travel at higher speeds on longer stretches of road. Rural areas are also home to some of the most dangerous occupations such as agriculture, mining, and construction.

Magnitude of the Problem

According to the American Journal of Public Health, rural fatality rates are twice as high as urban rates for many injuries, including motor vehicle injuries, traumatic occupational injuries, drowning, fires, unintentional firearm injuries, electrocutions, and suicide.

The leading causes of fatal injuries to youth on U.S. farms are:

  • 23% due to machinery (including tractors)
  • 19% due to motor vehicles (including ATVs)
  • 16% due to drowning


Factors to examine and address in order to reduce rural and agricultural injury deaths include:

  • improved access to emergency personnel with advanced life support training,
  • direct transport of rural injury victims to trauma centers,
  • increased availability of rehabilitation services for rural residents, and
  • the design and implementation of prevention measures that attend to the unique features of rural areas, such as greater distances between homes and the increased presence of open bodies of water.