For many people in the Baton Rouge, LA area, fall conjures up images of pumpkins, bonfires, and sugar cane harvest season. Many workers in this area are familiar with the harvest process and how it involves cutting the fields and loading the cane. Hundreds of workers spend their fall loading the new crop into tractor trailers and then 18-wheelers for transport. Grinding season undoubtedly creates long hours in the field, but it also means workers will be spending long hours on the road.
After several fatal accidents involving these trucks last year, the families of cane workers would like to remind drivers to be extra careful on the roads during harvest season. Having trucks on the road is necessary, but it doesn’t need to be dangerous. Some mills have as many as 150 trucks hauling cane from as far away as Bunkie, LA. Trucks commonly travel in excess of 3.5 million miles, the equivalent of seven round-trips to the moon. For this reason, crashes are bound to occur at some point in the season. This is why mill owners and workers urge people to slow down, watch for slow moving vehicles as use extra caution on the roads.
In response to the need for extra safety during harvest season, some cane families have began placing specially made signs along the highways and on the backs of the cane trailers. The American Sugar Cane League has also sponsored an awareness campaign that says, “Cane Families Care About Your Family”. They hope that the bright yellow or neon green signs will encourage drivers to think twice about unsafe driving.
Harvest workers hope that people will just use common sense as well. The roads need to be shared by drivers and cane workers alike, and no one would want to purposefully put their friends and family in danger. But when all else fails, workers are not afraid to put the word out to local drivers, slow down and use caution! Big trucks need to use the roads too, so share and be safe!
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