Log trucks are a common sight on Georgia roadways, especially rural roadways where clearing and development occur, or where there are paper or sawmills. While there is always a risk when driving near larger vehicles, logging trucks have some unique hazards that can make it very dangerous if an accident occurs.
At The Embry Law Firm, we have worked with clients who experienced catastrophic injuries and property damage in log truck accidents. Below, we provide some information about the types and causes of log truck accidents. It is our hope that this information will help drivers be more aware of the danger, and be able to avoid accidents.
Types of Log Truck Accidents
- Rollover Accidents: Caused by excessive speed, improperly loaded cargo, or improper braking.
- Jackknifing: Caused by stopping suddenly, swerving, or losing steering control.
- Flying Debris: Logging trucks often lose debris from the back, which can be dangerous to motorcyclists and other motorists.
- Tire Blowouts: Tire blowouts on a logging truck can cause the driver to lose control of the truck.
- Collisions: Logging trucks that do not use proper reflective tape and/or warning signs are more likely to cause collisions with other vehicles.
- Equipment Failure: When log trucks are not properly maintained or updated, there is a risk of equipment failure. Equipment failure can cause the truck to not operate as it should and can cause loads to be unsafe.
Causes of Log Truck Accidents
Many of the same factors that cause car accidents can lead to log truck accidents. However, there are some unique elements to logging trucks that make them particularly dangerous. Here are some of the most common causes of log truck accidents.
Inexperienced or Inadequately Trained Drivers
Log truck drivers are required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, they are not required to abide by many of the federal standards as other truck drivers. For example, log truck drivers are not required to pass a road or literacy test or background check. They are also allowed to work for multiple employers at the same time. That makes it difficult to monitor and manage the actions and safety of log truck drivers and the safety of the trucks they drive.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers are often required to work long hours. Logging trucks often report at work sites very early in the morning, and it may take hours before the truck is loaded and prepped to move offsite. Truck drivers who are fatigued or drowsy cannot properly operate a truck, much less manage hazards or difficult situations.
Truck driver error is a leading cause of accidents. Errors include behaviors like distracted driving, driving too fast for conditions, and driving while intoxicated.
Logging trucks carry extremely heavy and awkward loads. If these loads are not properly secured, it can cause catastrophic accidents, injuries, or death to other motorists. The average log on a logging truck weighs 5-15 tons. That is more than enough weight to crush a smaller vehicle.
Overloading is another cause of log truck accidents. The Georgia Forest Product Trucking Rules fail to establish clear guidelines for the length of logs on the back of the truck. When there is a log hanging 20 feet off the back of the truck, there is a risk of swinging or bouncing, creating a risk to other motorists.
Logging trucks are often older vehicles that do not have the same safety features and technological advancements are newer vehicles. Unfortunately, that means they may be less likely to properly manage the heavy loads. Wear and tear on these vehicles also makes it more likely for the vehicle to experience a malfunction.
What to Do After a Log Truck Accident
If you are involved in an accident with a log truck, the first thing to do is get to safety and get medical attention. Next, contact a truck accident lawyer to find out what to do next. Log truck accidents almost always cause injuries and property damage, and you may be entitled to more compensation than what your insurance company offers. At The Embry Law Firm, we make sure you have every opportunity to pursue compensation for injuries caused by a log truck and/or driver.