Gregg County JP promotes lawn mower safety

In East Texas, late spring and early summer mean the traditional and often weekly job of mowing the lawn.
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 1:42 PM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2022 at 1:50 PM CDT

GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - In East Texas, late East spring and early summer mean the traditional and often weekly job of mowing the lawn. However, thousands of accidents involving serious injuries and even deaths occur each year from operator error with various types of mowers.

On just about any day, you can spot someone mowing a yard or property in East Texas.

Lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers are immensely popular now in helping property owners do the job quicker, but accidents happen.

“Thirty-five thousand people a year are injured in lawn mower accidents, and between 70 and 90 people die each year nation-wide,” said Gregg County Justice of the Peace Tim Bryan.

Bryan is promoting awareness to the public about lawnmower accidents.

“We’ve had two deaths here in Gregg County in the last year,” Bryan said.

The problem is not with the mowers themselves. It is almost always human error.

“Zero-turn mowers have taken the place of the conventional lawnmower ... You always want to keep your seat belt buckled with your roll-bar up ... two key safety features. Also, you don’t want to modify the machine,” said Kelly Tractor employee Josh Miller.

“The bigger the machine, the weight, it’s going to have to have a roll bar for safety purposes,” said Kelly Tractor owner Craig Maitland.

Mowing inclines often cause the mower to roll over.

“If you’re next to an embankment or water, you can very easily spin out if you will or catch and this machine could roll by chance,” Maitland said.

“The fatalities I was at, they were on an incline, or they didn’t have the safety features in place,” Bryan said. “The lawnmowers rolled over on top of them and caused them to suffocate. Both of the ones I responded to, they had the roll bars on the equipment, but the roll bars were folded down.”

The judge said he wants people to observe safety protocols.

“They have safety briefings when you buy it for a reason,” Bryan said.

Experts at Kelly Tractor said always follow the safety protocols when operating riding or zero-turn mowers.

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