Logging operations is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. In 2016, the logging industry had the highest number of fatalities in any labor industry. Not only is the logging industry dangerous for the workers, but it may also be dangerous to the general public.
Logging trucks carrying cargo may be prone to accidents. These accidents often lead to multiple car collisions. Logging trucks are even more dangerous than regular trailer hauling semi-trucks because they are more likely to roll-over and have their cargo break free causing further damage.
Causes of accidents
A study found that nearly 78% of all log truck fatal crashes occurred in the Southeast portion of the United States. In these states, oncoming cars infringing on the logging trucks lane were the leading cause of logging truck accidents. These accidents account for 20% of all log truck accidents and often occur on rural roads.
Other causes of logging truck accidents include:
- Log truck driver error: failure to yield to cars, failure to follow road signs
- Equipment failure
- Poor driving conditions
- Improperly fashioned cargo
- Vehicle driver error
Because wood is in demand, log trucks often travel long distances. The risk of truck driver error is greatly increased when the driver has been on the road for too long. Exhaustion can cause the driver to become less careful and more dangerous to others.
To decrease the number of log truck accidents, the Department of Transportation federally mandated the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) in all semi-trucks. These devices log drivers’ status and record the number of hours they spend on the road. The goal of ELDs is to create a safer work environment for the driver and everyone else on the road.