Study clears the weather for rollover blame

CALGARY — Assuming poor weather conditions are the main cause of rollover accidents involving livestock trucks, is unjustified according to a recent study by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC).

The report analyses commercial livestock trucking accidents across North America in an effort to better understand how to reduce accidents and provide recommendations.

Data was collected by Jennifer Woods, a livestock consultant from Blackie, Alta., from 415 commercial livestock truck accidents in Canada and the U.S. between 1994 and 2007. The data collected showed the majority of accidents were not a result of bad weather conditions, but rather driver fatigue.

Of the incidences studied, 59 percent occurred between midnight and 9 a.m., 80 percent involved a single vehicle; 83 percent of the accidents resulted in a rollover, and 84 percent of the trucks rolled to the right.

Only one percent of the reports identified weather conditions as the root cause and the highest number of accidents occurred in October, followed by November, August, April and May.

According to AFAC, transporters need to be provided the necessary tools to educate and train drivers on accident prevention and fatigue management is a key to accident reduction.

AFAC’s mandate is to seek ways to continuously improve animal care, which includes the care of livestock while in transport. The association has worked closely with the transportation industry in the past to develop best practices for safe hauling and training protocols.

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