Did you know a crash involving a tractor-trailer (also known as a semi) happens every fifteen minutes in the United States? It’s a frightening statistic, considering how dangerous these types of accidents.
The type of tractor-trailer to blame most often? Logging trucks. These trucks are those that haul logs for the forestry industry.
But why are these types of accidents so common? Why are they so especially dangerous? Continue reading to learn the dangers of log truck accidents and why they’re more common than most people have been led to believe.
Log Truck Accidents Are More Common Than You Think
Accidents involving logging trucks are often depicted in the movies as the start of disastrous chains of events. But most people don’t believe these accidents happen often, and when they do, surely they can’t be as dangerous as the movies depict. Can they?
Unfortunately, logging truck accidents are more common than you think, and they’re much more likely to be fatal for others on the road. This is one situation where Hollywood hasn’t exaggerated by much.
Researchers published a study in the International Journal of Forest Engineering on log truck accidents in January of 2019. The study found that accidents involving logging trucks increased by more than forty percent between 2011 and 2015. The most common type of accident involved tractor-trailer-styled trucks.
One intriguing find from this survey was that the log trucks involved in serious or fatal accidents were significantly older than average. The log trucks involved in crashes averaged thirteen years of age. For all other large industrial trucks, the average vehicle age involved in crashes was only seven years.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s thought the increased age of logging trucks could be involved in how often they crash. Older vehicles are significantly more likely to experience mechanical failures. Older trucks can also be more challenging to handle in some situations.
Causes of Logging Truck Accidents
OSHA keeps a running record of all accidents that happen in the logging industry (and on all other jobs). Looking at this record can help assess the reasons behind logging truck accidents. When the causes are known, patterns can be found, and changes can be made.
A few of the most common causes of logging truck accidents include:
- Log truck drivers’ failure to yield or otherwise follow road signs
- The other involved driver’s failure to obey road signs
- Equipment failure
- Rough roads
- Weather-related conditions (rain, snow, sleet, wind, etc.)
- Improperly fastened cargo
- Cargo with an improper weight distribution
This isn’t an all-inclusive list. There are other causes for log truck accidents. However, those listed above include the most common reasons.
Drivers Need Better Training
Current training programs for those hired to drive log trucks are insufficient. Training doesn’t adequately prepare potential drivers for the reality of getting behind the wheel.
Logging companies need to place more resources into proper training programs. Anytime someone operates a piece of heavy machinery, it’s dangerous. When that big, heavy machine drives on highways alongside family vehicles, it becomes even more hazardous.
Logging Drivers May Be Taking Unnecessary Risks
People working in the logging industry file more workman’s comp insurance claims than others. This applies to the entire logging industry and includes truck drivers. But why is this?
Some people think logging truck drivers may be taking unnecessary risks. This could be due to a combination of poor work conditions and the inadequate training mentioned above.
If logging truck drivers are working longer hours than OSHA has deemed appropriate, they could make additional mistakes. If employers are pushing their drivers to do more work than individually possible, this can also lead to accidents. These are only assumptions based on the volume of workman’s comp claims and need further investigation to be proved.
Large Trucks Are More Difficult to Handle
Semi-trucks are more challenging to handle as they are, even when you don’t factor in logging vehicles’ higher general age. Besides sheer size and weight, extended blind spots make driving tractor-trailers significantly more dangerous.
Extended blind spots lead to more opportunities for merging-related accidents. Many drivers on the road don’t understand how to tell if the driver of a large truck can see them. A general rule of thumb for average drivers is that a semi driver can’t see you unless you can clearly see their side-view mirrors.
Working With a Lawyer Is Necessary
People involved with log truck accidents need to work with a lawyer. This applies to both the logging driver and other driver.
For the logging driver, it’s necessary to prove all road signs and rules were being followed. It’s also necessary to report the accident to both your employer and OSHA. For logging drivers who weren’t directly at fault, only a lawyer can help them keep their jobs.
For the other driver, working with a truck accident lawyer is even more essential. Since these types of crashes can prove so deadly, there are likely injuries involved. A lawyer can help ensure a fair claim that covers both medical bills and property damage.
Do You Have More Questions About Log Truck Accidents?
Accidents with logging trucks happen more than most people believe. The cause for these accidents range, but vehicle age and inadequate training programs are thought to be among the primary reasons. People involved in these serious accidents should work with a lawyer.
Do you have more questions about log truck accidents?
Read our other blog posts. You’ll find information on log trucks, vehicle accidents, and additional related information.