CALGARY, Alta. — A recent study completed by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) suggests driver error is to blame for 85% of livestock truck accidents.
Jennifer Woods, a well-known animal transport expert, studied the results of 415 commercial livestock truck accidents in Canada and the US occurring between 1994 and 2007. She found that weather, which is often assumed to be the cause of livestock truck accidents, was only a factor in 1% of livestock truck crashes.
Fatigue is a much greater contributor, Woods found, since most accidents occurred between midnight and 9 a.m. and involved only a single vehicle. Eighty per cent of livestock truck crashes involved a single vehicle and 83% of accidents involved a rollover. Of those, 84% rolled to the right. Most accidents happened in October, followed by November, August, April and May.
Fifty-six per cent of livestock trucks involved in accidents were hauling cattle, 27% were transporting pigs and 11% poultry.
“Transportation is a vital link for the livestock industry and it is the responsibility of the entire livestock industry to ensure that animals are being transported safely and humanely,” AFAC said in its most recent newsletter. “Transporters need to be provided the necessary tools to educate and train drivers on accident prevention. Fatigue management is a key to accident reduction.”