Log truck with ineffective brakes forced to ditch to avoid children

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Northern Interior
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A logging truck driver was descending a steep decline on a logging road. Upon attempting to slow down he applied his brakes, however, he felt that the brakes did not respond as he was expecting.

He continued to drive down the hill without effective brakes for 3.5 kms; at this point he had no braking control over the vehicle.

The driver noticed children ahead walking near a bus stop so he decided to drive the truck straight into private property, causing considerable damage, rather than putting the children at risk.

Potential Hazards

  • Mechanical issues associated with the incident were due to improper maintenance
  • Driver did not conduct proper pre-trip inspections
  • Use of engine retarder and compression brakes on full while travelling on icy roads.


Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always follow manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures and schedules.
  • Always remove debris and dirt from around air lines to adequately inspect for defects.
  • The use of brake line anti-freeze in air lines during winter months must follow the industry standard:

- A (50:1) ratio of 50 parts brake line anti-freeze is mixed with 1-part air tool oil.
- A (one) tablespoon or 1/8 ounce is added to the “emergency” or “red” line per 15,000 km. service intervals, and only in winter months.

  • Always STOP once you suspect something is “not right” to determine if your truck is safe to operate.
  • Chains should be used whenever the driver has concerns with vehicle traction.

Follow up questions to ask your driver:
1. Do you know when your truck was last inspected and/or serviced by authorized personnel?
2. How do you descend an icy road with your compression brake or engine retarder?
3. How do you ensure your brakes are working properly?

For more information on this submitted alert: 
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