Unsafe Driving Practices Cause Trucking Fatality
On a clear and sunny fall morning in the Southeastern U.S., two log trucks from the same logging company were transporting pulpwood to a local mill. Both trailers were carrying loads with overhanging logs. The two drivers traveled together since they were delivering to the same mill.
The lead driver had over 30 years of industry experience. The second driver had less than five years of truck driving experience and was only in his second week of employment with his new employer.
Unsafe Acts and Conditions:
The two trucks had traveled approximately 20 miles from the logging site and began to enter a small town. The drivers were forced to slow down and shift lanes due to road construction. The first driver had downshifted and slowed to the posted 35 MPH speed limit. He then stopped at a red traffic light. However, the second driver failed to slow down and ran into the rear end of the first truck at approximately 45 MPH.
Upon impact, several overhanging logs from the first truck entered the engine compartment of the second tractor. One of the logs deflected toward the driver’s side and entered the cab through the firewall. It penetrated the driver and continued out the back window. He died instantly.
Recommendations for Correction:
- Abide by posted speed limits and reduce speed in road construction zones or when entering urban areas.
- Avoid following other vehicles too closely and always allow proper braking distance.
- Avoid distractions while driving.