Accidents on Quebec’s logging roads claim 20 lives every year, but these roads remain exempt from the Highway Code.

Each year, 250 people are involved in accidents on Quebec logging roads, says the Ministry of Natural Resources. But because the roads are not public, speed limits and other safety regulations don’t apply to logging trucks and other traffic.

Logging trucks also don’t have to respect load limits, said Yvon Bouchard, head of the MNR office in Chibougamau. “On forestry roads, there is no specific tonnage like on public roads.”

Bouchard said the government is aware of concerns about safety on logging roads and is in the middle of making some changes.

“The government will release very soon a policy that will allow a little better control over the roads,” he said.

Bouchard could not explain why it has taken two years for the government to react to a request by the Surete du Quebec to put some logging roads in the North under the Highway Code.

A government newsletter says better controls will be put in place in early 1998. But the newsletter says that since the forestry industry creates 76,000 jobs, “there is no question of interrupting the activities related to the industry.”