truck accident

Photo courtesy of Snohomish Sheriff’s Office

When Logs Roll…Logging Truck Accident

A logging truck and five vehicles were in a multi-vehicle crash along Highway 2, putting two people in the hospital. The wreck occurred at Three Lakes Road between Monroe and Snohomish. The Washington State Patrol said one of the victims had injuries serious enough to have them airlifted to the hospital.

This daytime wreck included six vehicles in total (including the logging truck and trailer). Some of the vehicles flipped upside down and logs splayed across the roadway. Law enforcement blocked all lanes between State Route 2 and State Route 9 for several hours. Troopers are still working on what led up to the accident.

A Historically Dangerous Industry for Truck Accidents

The Washington State Legislature requested had studies done on “the costs to safely provide log hauling services” in 2007. Hauling logs has been a notoriously hazardous job for decades. Workplace accidents killed an average of 31 log truck drivers every year from 1950-1989. That’s 1246 deaths in a historically dangerous industry. By population standards, those numbers may seem relatively low, but by industry standards they are not. Improving safety standards and saving lives is a foremost concern for lawmakers and industry leaders alike.

Logging trucks haul approximately 1 million loads of log across Washington’s roadways every year. Unlike long-haul drivers, log truckers can deliver multiple loads every day, and usually don’t face the same fatigue and distance timing issues among the drivers as do their long-haul driving counterparts.

Truck Drivers Hault Millions of Loads Over Millions of Miles

Hauling large loads adds up to millions and millions of miles every year. Over-demand for timber keeps experienced truck drivers and loggers busy. In an examination of all the Washington state log truck accidents between 1993-2005, 61 percent of crash fatalities occurred on rural roads, as opposed to 39 percent on urban roads. When determining the cause of fatal collisions with logging trucks, the Washington State Patrol statistics from a 2004 study show that 75% of all fatal wrecks were caused by passenger vehicles and not the logging trucks.

In order to add safety counter-measures in the trucking and hauling community, the WSP started a campaign in 2005 called the TACT Project. The Ticket Aggressive Cars and Trucks Project set out to penalize drivers who violated safe driving rules. As an appendage to this program, the WSP Commercial Vehicle Division started conducting safety inspections on large trucks. This helped to reduce the number of collisions caused by equipment failure by at least 50 percent. While it doesn’t calculate or eliminate human error, it does add a sense of security in knowing the truck and hauling equipment wasn’t worn out or compromised.

The state’s findings show that the safety record for the log hauling industry in Washington has greatly improved in safety operations compared to decades past. Their accident records are comparable to the safety records of broader commercial trucks and carriers–which are statistically very low. In determining the cause of wrecks with logging trucks, a justifiable assumption is that the increased traffic on highways always increases safety risks and the potential for traffic accidents involving any trucks, even logging trucks.  Ultimately, it often comes down to how the vehicle is operated and the traffic around them.

Our Auto & Truck Accident Lawyers are Here to Help

Although accidents with logging trucks are rare, they can be serious and costly for anyone involved. With multiple vehicles involved and varying accounts, you may need to talk to someone who has your best interests in mind.

If you or a loved one have been in an auto accident or hit by a large truck, contact Fielding Law Group today, for a free consultation with a member of our legal team. Our experienced attorneys know how to handle even the most complicated of cases, maximizing the compensation and settlement you’ll get so you can recover your life and get back on the road. They’ll do the work while you take care of yourself. Remember-Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!