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Expert discusses rollover safety with truckers

Grant Aune, CEO of Advantage Fleet Services Ltd., presents “The Anatomy of a rollover” during a May 23 trucker appreciation day at the Gibraltar Room. - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Grant Aune, CEO of Advantage Fleet Services Ltd., presents “The Anatomy of a rollover” during a May 23 trucker appreciation day at the Gibraltar Room.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

A trucker can haul logs for 40 years, but will never haul the same load twice, said Grant Aune, CEO of Advantage Fleet Services Ltd.

Aune was in Williams Lake May 23 to present “The Anatomy of a Rollover” during a trucker appreciation day at the Gibraltar Room.

He told the crowd of around 75 people he first designed his program after McMillan Blodel had 27 rollovers in a time period of 18 months on Vancouver Island.

“We put together a program and delivered it to all drivers, supervisors and mentors within that group and trained over a three month period.”

Incidents were monitored for 18 months following and there was only one. The driver involved hadn’t taken the training, Aune said.

Drivers were encouraged to think about their loads and how easy it is to prevent a rollover and how important it is to look at each load from a stability perspective.

“It’s important to keep the rubber part down and the metal part up,” Aune said. “The last thing you want is to be on your side in your tin can because you are packing in the excess of 2 million joules of kinetic energy.”

There’s a fallacy that a nice big truck high off the ground will win, except there’s a good chance if the truck ends up on its side and is sliding down the road, it’s carrying a ton of energy.

Rolling a truck over is high profile and often leads to serious injury or even fatality.

Showing a photograph of a rollover, Aune said he did some testing and deliberately rolled two trucks over.

While the truck and load were easy to find, getting drivers to participate was more difficult.

They ended up pulling the vehicles to speed with a tow truck, releasing and steering the truck.

In 2013, 42 per cent of incidents in B.C. were rollovers and another 24 per cent were collisions.

When there’s an incident in this province involving a rollover, such as the latest fatality with the motor cycle driver near Squamish, and the media grabs ahold of that, everybody who hauls logs gets painted with the same brush, Aune said.

“Statistically when  professional drivers, like yourself, are involved in an incident with a third party, 85 per cent of the time it’s the third party who is at fault who has done something incorrect that caused the crash.”

However, most of the crashes involving commercial vehicles are single vehicle and don’t involve a third party. Most of the incidents are off road, where there’s nobody else to blame, Aune said.

Aune was the media liaison for the RCMP out of Kamloops between 1989 to 2000, and spent 24 years with the RCMP.

The bulk of his work was doing collision reconstruction as a technical investigator, primarily in the Fraser Canyon and the Coquihalla.

He worked for ICBC for a short time and then began working with Advantage Fleet Services more than a decade ago working with drivers.

“The program is not about driver training, it’s about getting you thinking about how you drive and how companies and organizations can manage risks,” he said.

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