Man Killed While Riding a Kubota
On Monday, April 12, 2021, a Gustine man was killed in a collision with a pickup truck. The deceased had been operating a utility tractor. He has been identified by the Coroner’s Office for Stanislaus County as Daniel Hernandez, and he was 50 years of age.
Mr. Hernandez had been driving a Kubota, which is a tractor or other rideable type of farm equipment, southbound on Washington Road. The collision took place just south of the city of Keyes. The Kubota was rear-ended by a Dodge pickup truck. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the driver of the pickup was Turlock resident Eric Mays, 30 years old.
Mr. Hernandez was ejected and thrown from the Kubota. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Mays sustained minor injuries.
The Highway Patrol is currently investigating the cause of this incident. They are trying to determine whether Mr. Hernandez was riding in the road when he was hit, or whether he had just pulled the utility vehicle out from an almond orchard.
Tractor & Utility Vehicle Accidents
Every year in Northern California, there are a number of accidents involving farm equipment. Some of them cause serious injuries, and some are deadly. Historically, farm equipment has not been designed and/or manufactured with safety as a top priority, and many such vehicles offer little in the way of operator protection. Tractors can be especially dangerous.
According to statistics compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC), tractor accidents are the primary cause of injuries and death among farmworkers.
Tractors are involved in approximately 130 deaths per year, which is close to half of all farmworker fatalities, according to the National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative.
Unsafe Farm Vehicle Manufacturers
Tractors are often not designed with operator safety top of mind. Additionally, tractor manufacturers may not properly warn consumers of the dangers inherent with operating the equipment. While it is mandated that newer tractors come equipped with a rollover protection system (ROPS), older models without this safety feature are still in use and are prone to tip over. It is estimated that half of all tractors currently being used in the United States are not equipped with ROPS or even seat belts.
It is unknown if the tractor being driven by Mr. Hernandez was equipped with ROPS or seat belts. Had seat restraints been properly installed and secured, it is possible that this tragic death could have been prevented.
The Most Common Cause of Deadly Tractor Accidents
Even more common than tractor rollovers are the type of accident that claimed the life of Mr. Hernandez. Approximately half of all farm equipment operator deaths are caused by collisions with other motor vehicles. Whenever an alternative vehicle is ridden in an area with passenger vehicle traffic, safety risks increase substantially.
Watch the YouTube video. The video below was uploaded by the Kubota company. Mr. Hernandez was reportedly riding one of their utility vehicles at the time of the accident.
Hello, and thank you for reading. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a wrongful death lawyer serving Keyes, California. If you have lost a loved one due to an accident that was caused by the negligence of another party, your family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Because the investigation of liability can be complicated, it is important to seek skilled legal counsel as soon as possible following the tragic event. An experienced attorney will know how to capture all the losses that the untimely death brought to your grieving family. For compassionate, free, and friendly legal advice, please call to speak with one of our injury lawyers at (209) 227-1931. If you will be calling from outside the local area, please use our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.
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Attributed photo: pixabay
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