What are the dangers associated with log trucks?

Our firm is currently handling several cases where families have lost loved ones while operating “log trucks.” In each case, the driver of the log truck was involved in a frontal collision which was survivable, but for the logs shifting forward in the collision and crushing the cab guard, cab, and tragically the occupant. In each case, had the manufacturer of the truck or cab, the cab guard, or trailer used an adequate design, the driver would have survived. The liability and fault is shared equally between these manufacturers.

Manufacturers of heavy trucks, such as Mack, Freight-liner, and International, have ignored for years general accepted safe engineering practices in analyzing and developing appropriate cab strength to protect occupants from impacts from the rear of the cab caused by anticipated loads in units, such as log trucks. This is despite known testing and development of adequate rear cab strength in Europe by domestic and foreign manufacturers for years. This is also despite the manufacturers’ knowledge of injury and death caused by logs or other unrestrained cargo shifting forward in frontal collisions in log trucks and other units hauling cargo. Most of the heavy truck manufacturers participated in the SAE Heavy Truck Crashworthiness Study, which showed that cargo impacting the rear of cabs during a rear-end collision with another 18-wheeler. Such a foreseeable event occurred with some frequency.

The manufacturers of log trailers are equally culpable. They completely ignore their responsibility in protecting occupants. Most of the manufacturers of log trailers provide no fixed anchor points or cargo barriers to retain logs in the event of a collision, despite the only use for these trailers – to haul or carry logs, as many as several tons of logs. Sadly, they wrongly believe that it is not their responsibility to make log trailers safe.

Finally, most manufacturers of cab guards sell cab guards that they have not designed or tested. Manufacturers, such as ProTech, Merit, and others, sell aluminum cab guards or headache racks, which they know will not protect an occupant in a frontal collision. Instead, manufacturers, such as ProTech and Merit, design and produce cab guards or headache racks with the lightest possible products at the expense of strength and truck occupant safety. More shocking is that most of the manufacturers of aluminum headache racks do not test the racks they warrant as safety features for log trucks.

Most of the log truck units on the road today haul 30,000, 40,000, and 50,000 thousand pounds, if not more, of timber. If a driver of these trucks is unfortunate enough to be in a frontal collision, there is little chance that he or she will survive, even at a very low speed impact, because of the devastating consequences of the unsecured logs or cargo crushing the cab and occupant. Until the manufacturers of cabs, log trailers, and cab guards accept their responsibility, the occupants of log trucks will continue to be at risk, and they and their families will suffer catastrophic consequences.

What can I do if I have been injured in an accident involving a log truck?

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as the result of an log truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact us today!

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