Could This Happen To You?
A small two driver company in NY was fined $3,400.00 for not having her husband in the random drug and alcohol testing pool. The husband, a retired Teamster, was only used on a few occasions when a full time driver called in sick. The husband had only driven within a few miles of the company terminal.
A 10 driver NY company was found not to have all its employees in the companies’ random drug and alcohol testing pool. The carrier was fined $4,800.00 for this violation alone. There were other violations discovered during this review that the company was also fined for.
A PA building contractor was found by the US DOT to have drug and alcohol testing violations. The carrier paid a $19,190 fine.
Recently, a former driver for a Montreal-based motor carrier was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to pay $9,200 in fines, serve 48 months incarceration, and 36 months supervised release for his conviction related to a fatal tractor trailer accident that occurred 7 years earlier. On September 22, 1999, a tractor trailer driven by the defendant loaded with rock salt jumped a guardrail on Interstate 78 north of Philadelphia, resulting in an accident that killed four occupants of a minivan, including a 4-year-old boy and his parents. The investigation found that the driver falsified his FMCSA regulated logbooks on a near-daily basis between August 2 and September 22, 1999, to conceal that he was driving more than the maximum driving hours in violation of federal highway safety regulations. The man was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2002, and in May 2006 he voluntarily returned to the United States after more than 4 years as a fugitive in Canada. In August 2006, he pleaded guilty to 42 counts of making false statements on his commercial driver’s license daily logbooks.
On 9/25/2006 a NY company driver was in an accident. Shortly after fleeing the scene of the first accident the driver was involved in another accident, this time resulting in a fatality. After the accident, the driver and his wife admitted to using crack cocaine before the accident.
This is not the time to discover if your drug and alcohol testing meets the requirements. You can not always foresee what your driver’s will do; you can however ensure you are in compliance. Violations discovered during a fatality investigation are significantly higher. What about the resulting law suit? If the DOT conducts an investigation and finds no violations, how will that effect the impending litigation? What happens if they do find violations, how will that effect the impending litigation?
In 2002 a truck broke down as one of the brake air lines had developed an air leak. The driver made a temporary repair using tape to repair the leak. The driver contacts the dispatcher via Qualcomm indicating that he had made the repair with tape. About 100 miles later, after passing numerous truck stops where the repair could have been made correctly, the air line came apart causing the brakes to lock up. A car plowed into the trailer, killing the driver. A jury found the trucking company negligent, and awarded the family $17,500,000 in damages. More importantly, someone was killed because of a careless decision by the truck driver.
At Truck and Bus Compliance, our number one goal is to limit your liability. It also helps to keep your insurance rates low, and to reduce accidents. Ask your insurance company what your insurance rates would be if your vehicle Out Of Service (OOS) rate and driver OOS rates were lower; usually 10%. All insurance companies utilize SafeStat to quote you insurance rates. How much do you think your rates will increase with a Conditional or Unsatisfactory Safety Rating (another 10-40%)? Most companies can not afford these rate increases, and ultimately go out of business.
A small NY carrier had a box of caulking in tubes being carried in a pick-up truck. The driver had the box of caulking on the seat. The driver was ticketed for unsecured hazardous materials and fined. This also prompted the FMCSA to conduct an audit which resulted in hazardous material violations being discovered. The resulting fines were $4,400.00 for just the hazardous materials violations.
A small size LTL carrier transporting windshield washer fluid did not know the windshield washer fluid was a hazardous material. Yes, the same windshield washer fluid you pour into your car or truck. The carrier was fined $2,840.00 for violations resulting from the windshield washer fluid only. A small private NY carrier transporting an ORMD was fined $3,190.00 for the resulting HM violation discovered.