Logging is an integral part of the culture and economy of East Texas. Unfortunately, it is also a source of many accidents on our roads and highways. In 2011 alone there were almost 24,000 accidents involving Commercial Motor Vehicles in Texas. Many of these accidents resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.
One of the most dangerous causes of log truck accidents is referred to as “tail swing.” It is a well-recognized hazard in the timber transportation industry. Typically log trucks have short wheelbases and the load they haul overhangs behind the rear axle.
Example: Tail swing
This makes log trucks susceptible to tail swing when turning sharply. As the log truck turns a corner, the extreme rear of the load can move horizontally and collide with vehicles in adjoining lanes of traffic.
Logging safety studies have shown that two-thirds of all logging truck accidents are preventable. Drivers need to be aware of the amount of their tail swing in order to prevent accidents. Log truck drivers should check their mirrors before and during any turning movements to maintain clearance with tree length loads. Log truck safety manuals also recommend that logs be loaded on a trailer according to length, with the longest logs loaded at the bottom of the load.