Research studies have shown that tractor rollovers are the leading cause of work-related death in U.S. production agriculture. Previous studies have also shown that while rollover protective structures (ROPS) are the most effective means of preventing these deaths, it is estimated that over half of the tractors in use on U.S. farms are not equipped with ROPS. To gauge the impact of a ROPS retrofit policy, tractor sales in Central Iowa were monitored for a three-month period in early 1998 to determine the proportion of tractors without ROPS being sold by equipment dealers versus those being sold through other channels such as auctions, farm sales, and private transfer. During the study period, 549 tractors sales were documented in Central Iowa. Of these tractors, 72% were equipped with ROPS. Of the 152 that were sold without ROPS, 43% were sold by equipment dealers. ROPS retrofits were readily available for 92% of the tractors that were not equipped with them at the time of the sale. A fully implemented ROPS retrofit program for equipment dealers would have reduced the number of tractors sold without ROPS in Central Iowa by over 40%. The results suggest that such a policy could have a significant impact in reducing the number of farm fatalities and thus should be investigated further.
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