It’s been a bad month for logging truck spills and rollovers in the Lillooet area. They’ve occurred on the Bridge Main, Highway 12 and most noticeably on Road 40 last week near its intersection with T&T Road.
When we arrived at last week’s accident scene, our first question was “Was anyone hurt?” Our second thought was “Thank God no one else was coming in the opposite direction.” And our third thought was “This is a bad corner. People have died here in accidents because of high speeds.”
We don’t know the cause of last Wednesday’s accident; the day after, RCMP said the investigation was continuing and it was too soon to say if charges would be laid. So perhaps it was faulty brakes or a mechanical problem and we shouldn’t be finger-pointing.
We don’t want to bash the forest industry or the fellows who drive the logging trucks. The industry has bounced back to again become an important contributor to our local economy and the drivers have tough jobs – up at all hours, driving those heavy, heavy loads on bad roads. Things are particularly challenging for them when they have to go via Highway 12 and Lytton because of the weight restrictions on Highway 99 North.
But what price could someone end up paying? What is the value of a human life if something goes terribly, horribly wrong?
Just last month, the Coroners Service ruled that the death of a motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with a logging truck in Whistler in 2013 was accidental, although the truck was going 32 kilometres over the speed limit and was 3,570 kilograms overweight.
If last week’s rollover is another example of someone driving a loaded logging truck at excessive speed, we believe it’s time to sit down and talk about logging truck safety in the Lillooet area. Perhaps we need something along the lines of a local version of the provincial Trucking Advisory Group.