On a clear spring afternoon, with the temperature in the 70’s and a slight wind, a log truck driver was coming around a curve onto a straightaway section of road. He was on a major divided highway in the South.
The 72-year-old driver had worked for his employer for eight months but had decades of experience driving trucks. He had traveled this route many times as he delivered treelength pine to different mills.
UNSAFE ACTS AND CONDITIONS:
The driver (later) told the highway patrolman that his load shifted. He may have been traveling at an excessive speed for the curve/road condition.
The driver lost control and rolled the truck in the center median. The truck landed on the driver’s side and slid approximately 300 feet, took out the guardrail, and dumped logs into the opposite lanes of the highway, where the logs struck a motorcycle.
The driver suffered a head injury and a severely lacerated ear and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He was subsequently airlifted to another hospital for treatment for his head injury. It is not known what injuries the motorcyclist sustained.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
• Drivers must not allow distractions to draw attention away from their driving duties.
• Drivers must ensure their loads are properly and securely bound before entering public highways.
• Drivers must follow posted speed limits for the roads and conditions they encounter.
Depending on the load’s center of gravity and other load and road conditions, traveling exactly at the speed limit may still be too fast.
• Driver injuries can be prevented by following safety procedures and not being in a hurry.
Southwide Safety Committee;
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager