Lumber trucks are large commercial vehicles that transport downed trees, typically already stripped of their branches, from a logging site to a lumber yard. Depending on the kind of tree and the products a lumberyard produces, they may stack and cure those down trunks or process them relatively soon.
Regardless of whether they will end up becoming structural lumber or wood chips, trees on vehicles can be a big risk for drivers on the road. You likely have an instinctive desire to put some space between yourself and a lumber truck when you see them. There’s a good reason for that immediate response, as there are at least three serious risks associated with logging industry transportation.
- There could be issues with the load
There is a classic horror movie that has a scene where the logs on a lumber truck come loose and go flying through traffic, with horrifying results. While this sort of thing doesn’t happen frequently, it is possible for restraints used to haul lumber to fail or for someone to fail to secure them properly while loading the vehicle.
Although the results likely won’t be as dramatic as Hollywood might make them, loose logs rolling down the highway could cause catastrophic vehicle damage and lead to many crashes.
- Vehicles with heavy loads don’t maneuver as well
Commercial drivers need extra education and training to safely haul loads of heavy goods in large vehicles. These big trucks have big blind spots, take longer to stop and make awkward turns.
Even with proper training and licensing, uneven loading and inclement weather conditions like high winds can make it prohibitively difficult for a driver to safely manage a vehicle hauling thousands of pounds of lumber.
- Not everyone hauling lumber has the right licensing
The logging industry is rife with improperly managed businesses. Some companies harvest lumber without permits, while others hire undocumented workers and don’t carry workers’ compensation coverage despite logging being the deadliest profession.
It’s also possible that a driver with proper commercial licensing is not available. Someone without the right training could be particularly dangerous when in control of a lumber truck.
As with any other kind of commercial crash, logging industry traffic collisions can result in insurance claims and even lawsuits, especially when there are catastrophic injuries and major oversights, like an unlicensed driver.