It’s difficult to imagine a less aerodynamic tractor-trailer configuration than your typical square-nosed logging truck pulling an awkward load of timber behind it. Loggers love their classic model trucks with the big, square front end – aerodynamics be damned!

When markets get tough, it helps to have some historical perspective. The folks at Finning (Ca­nada) have plenty. Not only was the Caterpillar distributor founded in the depths of the Great Depression, but as it celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, it does so with a team of forestry specialists at the helm that has been through a downturn or two. They’ve also seen a few recoveries, plenty of growth, and a fair bit of innovation.

It’s a public relations nightmare. A top-heavy, overloaded logging truck goes into a curve too hot, or swerves to avoid a dozy car driver drifting across the centre line. The load shifts, and before the driver has a clue, the trailer is going over. It’s a bad day for the driver, but likely worse for the family coming around the bend en route to the cottage.

Two years ago the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) shocked the industry when it unveiled a controversial policy that would require the activation of speed limiters on all heavy-duty trucks operating in the province. Two years later, the provinces of Quebec and Ontario appear poised to act on the recommendation, and have taken steps to legislate the use of speed limiters.

Now in its second year, the Canadian Truck King Challenge is a non-partisan pickup truck testing event that is arranged and judged by Canadian automotive journalists from across the country. This year we had judges from as far as Alberta and Quebec, as well as our first civilian judges. Collectively, they spent over 200 hours testing these trucks as well as driving over 4,400 km in the next three days – The same as driving from Toronto to Vancouver.

Depending on where you operate, you may have already seen some of the white stuff swirling to the ground. We all bemoan the inevitability of winter, but if you think we have it tough as humans, think about what our equipment goes through.

Recently, the Forest Safety Ombudsman Office announced its intention to undertake a review of resource roads in the province of BC.  A number of factors contributed to our decision. First, log truck driving is the number one occupation for people losing their lives in the forest sector.  Second, the amount of vehicle traffic on resource roads across the province continues to grow.  Finally, inquiries concerning road maintenance, regulatory
jurisdiction issues, road construction specifications, and cycle times make up the largest percentage of calls our office receives.

The Canadian Co­u­ncil of Motor Tra­n­s­port Administrators (CCMTA) and its US counterpart re­wrote the rules on cargo securement in 2005, but some of the most significant changes for log haulers may still be to come.

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