Drivers of sand truck and service truck killed in encounters with log trucks

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What happened?

1) On a winter day in 2007 a loaded sand truck and an empty log haul truck collided head-on on a logging road curve. The driver of the sand truck was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver of the haul truck suffered serious injuries.

2) On a winter day in 2008 a log truck loaded with tree-length jack pine was travelling on a numbered highway when the back tier of the load splayed off the trailer and into the path of an oncoming service truck. The driver of the service truck was killed. 

Why did it happen?

1) Speed is almost always the most critical factor in collisions on logging roads. Speed affects any driver’s ability to react quickly to the sudden presence of another vehicle, particularly at a bend in the road. 

2) The log truck’s load of jack pine wasn’t properly secured. The load may have been improperly secured in the first place or it may have been jarred loose in the course of transportation. 

How can it be prevented?

1) All posted speed-limit signs on logging roads and highways must be heeded. Companies need to communicate their policy on speed limits to all drivers, with special emphasis on the importance of adjusting speed to road and weather conditions. Drivers must always be ready to safely share the road on short notice. 

Radio communication with other drivers is a useful tool on logging roads, but drivers must not rely only on their radio to determine if the road is clear of traffic. Other vehicles, including those driven by members of the public using the road for recreational purposes, may not be equipped with two-way radios. Even when a system of two-way radio communication is in place, a radio may malfunction and communication may be interrupted. 

2) All log haul truck drivers should receive training in the requirements of the Cargo Securement Standard. Among other things, the Standard requires the periodic inspection of loads during transportation to ensure that all tiedowns are secure and the load is stable. This is especially important on public roadways, where more people are at risk from a loose or unstable load. The Standard specifies that any load being carried on a road that’s used by the public must remain secured on or within the transporting vehicle under all normal driving conditions and when the driver is responding to any emergency situation short of a crash. 

WSN has created a new half-day training program, Safe Travel on Logging Roads, that reviews the hazards of driving personal, company or recreational vehicles on logging roads and how to control those hazards. WSN also offers half-day training on the Cargo Securement Standard. For more information on these programs, visit our training calendar.