Driver Safety for Log Truck Drivers

Topic: Forest Products
Date: September 6, 2022

Don Nelson, Risk Control Consultant

6 Reminders to Prevent Logging Truck Accidents

Vehicle injuries are often the leading cause of death in all industry workplace fatalities. Log trucks are some of the most challenging types of trucks to drive, and if driven irresponsibly, can be dangerous to both the log truck driver and other drivers on the road. Refresh yourself on these six recommendations to stay safe on the road and prevent accidents.

1. Seatbelts

Did you know that wearing a seat belt can reduce your chances of fatal injury by 45 percent and critical injuries by 50 percent? As a log truck driver, keep in mind:

  • Log truck rollovers are often the most common accident where the seat belt saved the driver's life.
  • We often see neck injuries for drivers who weren't wearing their seatbelts from driving over a bump and hitting their heads on top of the cab.
  • Seat belts allow drivers to stay at the wheel and control the truck to some degree after the initial impact.
  • Not wearing a seat belt gives an officer an excuse to pull over a driver.

2. 3-Point Contact

Bruises, cuts, sprains, fractures, and fatalities can occur when workers jump down, slip, trip, or fall while attempting to climb onto or dismount log trucks. Drivers should always use three-points of contact to climb on and off log trucks. Use two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the equipment.

3. Speeding

Drivers should always follow the speed limit. A 50-mile trip going ten miles per hour over the speed limit will only save six to eight minutes with no stops. Those extra minutes don't count traffic lights, stop signs, or traffic. Getting pulled over is time-consuming and expensive, and the officer will usually do a "free safety inspection," which could lead to additional citations and fines. If a driver gets pulled over and only gets a warning, their CDL is not affected, however, the employer's CAB score is affected the same as if the driver had gotten a ticket.

4. Tail Swing 

A log truck's tail swing can cause serious accidents. Not only are tail swings dangerous to traffic in the other lane, but also to vehicles behind the truck. Drivers must be careful and aware of what is behind them. Remember:

  • Use turn signals well in advance.
  • Be aware of other vehicles on both sides of the road. Constantly check rearview mirrors and look in both directions when starting the turn.
  • Avoid congested areas as often as possible.
  • Always do a complete stop. A driver can get a dangerous driving ticket if caught. Not only do tickets result in being fined, but they will end up on the driver's record for three years and the company's record for two years.

5. Distracted Driving

NHTSA reports that 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving in 2020. Remember, if you don't see the distraction, you can't avoid it. Keep your focus on the road and remember:

  • Hands-free is not risk-free. While a driver may not use their hands with a hands-free device, it's the mind that is distracted.
  • Texting is the most alarming distraction. Reading or sending a text while driving for five seconds is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.
  • Multitasking like cleaning a spill, eating food, and looking over a paper are all distractions. Only do these tasks when safely parked.

6. Following Distance

Often crashes occur from drivers following too closely to the vehicle in front. The three-second following rule encourages drivers to keep a distance of three seconds between them and the vehicle in front to prevent accidents. To do this, drivers should pick a specific object ahead of them on the side of the road and then count three seconds. Following the three-second rule gives drivers more time to react in case the driver in front breaks suddenly.

Safe driving is your job, your responsibility, and your duty. Thank you to all the log truck drivers for the work you do. For more forestry-related safety tips, contact your BITCO Risk Control Consultant.

Find an Agent

For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

Let's Talk

Looking for a long-term partner that works hard for you and your business? Contact a local BITCO agent today.