Every year, innumerable farmers from the Ems region and the neighbouring Netherlands head for the potato starch factory Emlichheim every day, with their tractors and trailers. The annual traffic volume of approx. 1200 potato transporters holds considerable accident risks for other road users.
Often, the tractors and particularly the trailers of these farmers are only equipped with the yellow plastic reflectors required by law in Germany - if at all. Especially at night, these reflectors, which are attached to the sides of the trailers, are completely insufficient, as Police Superintendent Franz Frieling and other officers of the Police Station Grafschaft Bentheim know only too well. One cause for the accumulation of lethal accidents involving passenger cars is the circumstance that approaching cars fail to percept transport vehicles entering the road, due to their insufficient lateral marking. Or they see them too late and slide underneath one of the trailers, often at high speed.
In consideration of this substantial safety deficit, Police Superintendent Franz Frieling, in his function as road safety advisor of the Police Grafschaft Bentheim, has, in cooperation with Messrs. Emslandstärke Emlichheim, vehicle manufacturer KRONE, the Chamber of Agriculture of Hannover and 3M Deutschland GmbH, Dept. TSS-Road Safety, launched a campaign for the improvement of visibility of potato transporters in this year's season.
During the first week of October, the police was present with three officers and an information tent on the site of the starch factory. Every farmer delivering his produce to the factory during this period was stopped by the police and informed about the source of hazards represented by trailers; for this purpose, videos and posters were shown in the tent and a sample trailer was available. The farmers then had the possibility to buy the micro-prismatic, retro-reflecting 3M Diamond Grade sheeting directly in the information tent. This sheeting was used as lateral line markings for the trailers.