Experiences from driving a logging truck in the Cariboo.
By Max Winkelman
For the past five years, Dan Mowbray has been driving a logging truck for McNeil and Sons Logging.
His most recent route is from 100 Mile House, out past Forest Grove and down Wilcox Road.
The entire return trip takes about five hours. During the trip, he’s regularly talking to other drivers to let each other know if there are other vehicles coming, if there are people or animals walking on the road or anything else for which they need to slow down. After the logs are loaded on, he has to stop where he leaves the logging area to stamp his load. While stopped he also checks for branches, loose bark and rocks that could damage other vehicles. He makes a second stop to check for those things before he returns to the public road.
Mowbray’s and other logging trucks are also equipped with a tablet, that records where their truck is, as well if they’re speeding, says Mowbray. West Fraser has access to all of that data as part of an agreement to provide funding for the tablets, says Mowbray.
Being responsible for safety enforcement compliance for the company, which has about 40 employees, safety is a top priority for Mowbray.
Their trucks drive about 80,000 km a year. In their approximately 50 years in business, they were involved in one fatal collision, according to owner John McNeil. Outside of someone backing into one of their trucks, the last collision between a member of the public and one of their trucks was five years ago in which they were found not at fault, he says.
“We don’t go out there to run people off the road,” says Mowbray
The truckers’ families live in the community and drive on the roads, he says.
After a fatal accident on Jan. 10 involving a logging truck near Lac la Hache, which their company wasn’t involved in, they started seeing a lot of comments on social media criticizing truckers.
Companies can’t use social media to hold drivers accountable, says executive safety co-ordinator Nadaya McNeil.
“There’s definite ways to hold the drivers accountable. They don’t have to accept crazy drivers. Nobody should have to accept that and there’s definite ways to hold them accountable for it and it’s easy to do. And for the employer, you wanna know about that. You don’t want to have drivers out there that are endangering the public or endangering themselves. That’s the very last thing you want. So, we actually appreciate a phone call. If nothing else we appreciate a phone call much more than we would appreciate a general rant and rave on social media because you can’t do anything about that. We can do something about a phone call where if you can get the plate or whatever and then we know exactly who that is and we can go to that person and do something about whereas otherwise there’s nothing we can do.”
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