Sudbury

Safety trainer believes new bush road driving course should be mandatory

The number of fatal accidents on northern Ontario bush roads has inspired a new driver training course. According to a 2015 study there were eight forest industry deaths on logging roads in a six-year period.

Version of the training course will also be available to ATVers and snowmobilers

A logging truck rumbles along the Sultan Industrial Road, which is maintained by timber companies, but open to the public. (Erik White/CBC)

The number of fatal accidents on northern Ontario bush roads has inspired a new driver training course.

According to a 2015 study there were 8 forest industry deaths on logging roads in a 6-year period.

Workplace Safety North will roll out the new training in January.

Prevention services director Chris Serratore thinks it should be a mandatory course for new logging truck drivers.

"The biggest mistake is they drive too fast," he says. 

"Maybe they're not worried about somebody being out there with a radar gun clocking them as they come over the next hill, so their speed might get up there a bit."

Serratore also says that sometimes logging truck drivers drive too quickly because they are under pressure to get their load to the mill. 

"You know, one of the things is complacency. People will tend to drive a little bit fast because they don't expect or they don't anticipate seeing other people out there on those roads," he says.

"The roads are a little bit narrower, you don't have as much visibility along the sides. The right-of-ways aren't as clear as they would be on a on a major highway or anything like that. Lots of curves that can sneak up on you and hills and you know, the road surface itself, you're not on solid pavement, you're on on gravel and there's ruts and potholes and washboard."

A version of the course will also be targeted to ATVers, snowmobilers, hunters and others who use logging roads to access the northern wilderness.

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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