Commercial Logging Train Causes Fatal Highway Accident


    Timber ExpertThis case involves the passengers of a midsize SUV who were struck by a log that fell off the side of a commercial timber train. As the train was passing through the main thoroughfare of a large town, the chain that was securing the logs broke causing a log to swing off the train. The SUV that was waiting behind the railroad crossing gate was struck by the log. All four passengers in the SUV died as a result of the accident. An expert in the timber industry was sought to review the case and address the duty of the harvester to load timber onto a train in a reasonably safe fashion.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. What industry standards must be followed when loading timber onto a train?

    Expert Witness Response E-143789

    I have previously worked as a forester in a southern state. There are industry standards that are regulated by each state’s department of transportation. The log weight, overhang, log size, and trailer configuration are all factors. One has to know how many feet the logs are from the axle. In my state, they may have the logs off of the rear, but the logs have to be a certain number of feet high in order for them to be deemed safe. Typically, there is also a regulation for a red flag and possibly a flashing yellow light in order to alert drivers. I have testified on this issue before.

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