Driver in Fatal Accident Drove 100+ Hours in a Week
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently declared a Virginia-licensed trucker as an imminent hazard to public safety.
Carlos Alberto Garcia has been ordered to refrain from operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce after he was involved in a fatal accident and found to have violated hours-of-service rules.
The driver was traveling on Interstate 495 outside of Washington, DC on June 24th when he drifted into the median. The trucker ended up striking two individuals who had stopped in the caution-striped paved area to re-secure a boat they’d been towing with their trailer.
One of the individuals was killed in the accident, and the other sustained serious injuries.
Virginia State Police investigated and discovered that Garcia had been violating federal hours-of-service rules, driving far behind the allowed amount. At the time of the crash, Garcia had logged 103 hours within an eight-day period. During this time, he only took one ten-hour break from duty.
Less than 24-hours before this crash occurred, Garcia had been operating a different commercial truck. Around 9:30 that evening, he rear-ended a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority bus. This accident also resulted injuries to numerous passengers.
The out-of-service (OOS) order issued to Garcia by the FMCSA states that letting the driver continue to operate a commercial vehicle would substantially increase the likelihood of serious injury or death to the motoring public.
Civil penalties of $1,811 may be demanded if an OOS order is violated. This counts for each violation, and continued operation in spite of the order can also result in criminal penalties. The trucker may also be facing penalties from the FMCSA for violating safety regulations.
Drivers who are working beyond allowable limits have been a cause for much discussion in trucking. Many regulations, including the upcoming ELD mandate, have all been based on reducing the number of fatigued drivers on the roads in an effort to prevent accidents from happening.
Drowsy drivers have always been a cause of danger on U.S. highways. With the amount of damage a commercial vehicle can do, it is easy to see why regulators take these matters so seriously.