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Abstract

The Washington forest industry employs 45,000 people and annually generates $2 billion in wages, $16 billion in gross business revenues and over $100 million in tax receipts. Washington produces six billion board feet of lumber per year, one billion square feet of plywood panels, and seven million tons of pulp and paper products. Washington has the second largest lumber production in the nation and is fourth in production of both plywood and pulp and paper products. All of this activity is dependent upon the drivers and trucks that move raw logs from the woods to processing facilities. In 2007, the State Legislature requested that scientists from Washington State University and the University of Washington undertake an investigation of the Washington log truck industry towards gaining better understanding of “the costs to safely provide log hauling services.” No such study had previously been conducted in Washington. Deregulation of the trucking industry, rising fuel prices, declining wood markets, shortages of skilled drivers, increases in traffic congestion and other ensuing circumstances were felt to add new operational pressures that could logically have safety implications for this historically dangerous industry. A review of scientific, government, and industry literature was accompanied by interviews with government agency personnel, products venders, association representatives, log truckers, and other industry professionals. Field visits were taken to log hauling operations, a statewide survey of log truck companies in Washington was completed, and a cost of operations model was developed.

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