Paying Attention to Log Trucking Safety

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“Only five companies nationally are still willing to write log truck vehicle insurance.”  This recent statement from forest industry insurance agents point to the underlying reasons for the formation of TEAM Safe Trucking (“TST”)--a coalition of forest products industry insurance companies, wood suppliers, wood consumers, associations, and others.  TEAM’s goal is “to reduce accidents through effective fleet management, increasing the number of safe, qualified drivers in order to deliver a sustainable and profitable supply chain.”
 
FRA’s Rick Meyer participated in the February 9 TEAM Safe Trucking Meeting in South Carolina and has posted his “top notes” from that meeting: 

For more information on TST, see www.teamsafetrucking.com or visit TEAM Safe Trucking on Facebook. 

  • TEAM Safe Trucking expects to complete the development of log truck driver safety training/education materials during 2017, as part of a comprehensive initiative to improve the loss/claims record of log trucking. 
  • Virginia Tech (Dr. Scott Barrett) is currently gathering and researching log truck crash data to provide guidance on where to focus log trucking safety training efforts.  (Not surprisingly, preliminary data from one past year show almost no log truck fatal crashes on Interstates—the safest roadways.  Truck weight laws that permit log trucks to haul on Interstates with their states’ GVW variances makes sense!)
  • The large trucking operations (more than 10 trucks in the fleet) generally had stronger safety performance, often employing a safety officer, having a formal safety program, handling the myriad of regulations better, etc.
  • The Michigan Association of Timbermen and MI Forest Insurance Center have achieved great success with their Log Trucking Safety continuing education program, reducing their insurance loss ratio dramatically over time.
  • Beaufort Community College (Washington, NC) is beginning a CDL driver training program specifically to train log truck drivers.  The school is able to use some of Weyerhaeuser’s company roads, log deck sites, etc. for training.
  • An insurance company that is willing to accept the risk of insuring a newly-trained, inexperienced log truck driver who graduates from such a program will probably require the trucking operation to have a mentor program for the driver, will charge a higher rate to start with, and will require a clean MVR before even considering coverage on the new driver.
Loggers who had their own trucks as a general rule performed better, claims-wise, than their contract/subcontract haulers.