Researchers Identify Routes that are Safer for Logging Trucks
GEORGIA- News.uga.edu writes that trucks in the United States transport 200 million tons of timber every year. Transporting timber is costly, and each additional mile traveled between the forest, and the mill adds to the expense. Laws currently do not allow these trucks to drive on interstates.*
The University of Georgia is looking at whether a change in this law would be beneficial for everyone involved. The study indicates that switching to interstate transport could make for increased safety, reduced wear on the vehicles, and decrease the cost of timber production.
The weight limit for highways in 84,000 pounds, and as a result, the timber trucks are forced to use local roads through metro areas. Many mills are located in cities like Augusta, Savannah, and Macon, meaning that the trucks must travel through downtown areas where pedestrians and other risks are present. One of the researchers stated that the current practice is unnecessarily unsafe.
According to the results of the study, about half of the routes traveled could be carried out on the interstate rather than on local roads. Given the fact that about one-quarter of the cost of pulpwood is the result of the transportation to the mill, the savings could be significant. The study suggests that the routes would be safer as well. The trucks could avoid, on average, one school zone each trip and lower the number of intersections they pass through.
When the empty trucks travel, they are permitted on the interstate. Only five percent of crashes involving log trucks occurred on interstates in comparison to 40 percent that took place near interstates.
The researchers argue that a change in the law would improve public safety and increase the competitiveness of the industry.
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