Regional Analysis of Log Truck Crashes in the United States between 2011 and 2015
Safe and efficient transportation of fiber is an essential component of the forest products supply chain, yet log truck crashes are believed to have increased across the United States. We examined two federally maintained databases to explore crash characteristics. Study objectives were to characterize log truck crashes nationally and regionally, and to compare log trucks to other similar trucks and assess differences. An analysis of 383 crashes involving log trucks across the U.S. were divided into four geographic regions for regional assessment. Results indicate that log trucks were significantly more likely to experience a rollover (p<.0001) as compared to other large trucks types. The average age of log trucks involved in fatal crashes (13 years) was significantly older (p=.0109) than overall average age for other large trucks (7.6 years). Log truck driver age was significantly different between region (p=.0269) with the highest average age in the Western region (53.4) and the lowest average age in the Midwest region (45.5). Calculations of crash rates revealed that the national average was 0.7 fatal log truck crashes per 100 million ft3 of wood harvested. The highest rate of log truck crashes occurred in the Southeast with 0.9 fatal crashes per 100 million ft3 of wood harvested. Between 2011 and 2015 fatal log truck crashes increased by 41%. Log tractor-trailer crashes increased 33% while all tractor-trailer crashes increased by 16%. Our findings reveal sufficient differences between log trucks and other large trucks to justify additional research regarding causation of crashes.