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Private or not, logging roads need controls (August 15, 2001)

KAPUSKASING, Ont. -- A coroner's inquest in this northeastern Ontario town has suggested establishing speed limits...

KAPUSKASING, Ont. — A coroner’s inquest in this northeastern Ontario town has suggested establishing speed limits and roving police patrols for logging roads.

In addition, the jury ruled truckers must communicate more with their coworkers on the roads, as well as take advantage of defensive driving techniques.

Forewoman Joanne Konopelky tells local media the four-women, one-man panel was surprised by the pictured painted of the environment that lead to the death of Gilbert Thomas.

Thomas, a 27-year-old trucker, died Jan. 21, 2000 when his logging truck crashed into a river on a gravel road south of Hearst, Ont. Evidence during the inquest indicated in general, trucks on logging roads travel at an extremely high rate of speed.

Thunder Bay regional coroner Dr. David Legge, who presided over the inquest, says logging roads are not designed to transport high-speed traffic safely. The major aim of these recommendations is at legislation that would apply to both truckers and non-truckers, Legge adds.

While logging roads are maintained by forestry companies, which are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure truckers drive safely, speeding tickets can’t be issued because the provincial Highway Traffic Act doesn’t apply to private property.

However, he points out that drivers could face charges of dangerous driving under the Criminal Code if their actions caused serious injury.

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