DOT calls Takata parts transporter 'imminent hazard to public safety'

Feds fault trucking company after explosive crash this summer.

Update: We have received a response from the FMCSA. According to the organization, it puts out roughly ten to twenty orders to cease operation each year. These orders can be applied to entire organizations or individual drivers the organization feels presents a hazard to themselves and/or other road users and bystanders.

About a month and a half ago, we reported on a semi truck carrying Takata airbag components that exploded, destroying a house and killing the person living there, which spawned an investigation by the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Announcing the results Friday, the agency said that the driver entered a turn too fast, resulting in the truck rolling over, catching fire, and subsequently igniting the explosive material. The FMCSA also discovered that the company responsible for the truck, Industrial Transit, Inc., has committed a litany of safety violations. So many that the FMCSA declared Industrial Transit an "imminent hazard to public safety" and ordered the company to cease all transportation activities within and across state lines.

Industrial Transit has just five commercial trucks. The company mainly transported automotive parts, among which were airbag components that are classified as hazardous materials. Despite this, Industrial Transit did not provide any training to its employees for how to handle hazardous materials, it didn't fill out the correct paperwork concerning hazardous cargo, and it had no security or communication plans for such materials. The company also didn't monitor how many hours drivers were on the road, it didn't ensure that it's drivers met basic driving qualifications – two drivers didn't have commercial driver's licenses – nor did it comply with drug and alcohol testing requirements. One driver refused to take a random test and was permitted to keep driving.

On top of everything else, Industrial Transit's trucks were in poor shape. In the last 10 roadside inspections of the company's trucks, each one required the truck be taken out of service for violations. When the investigation began, the FMCSA found trucks with brakes that were out of adjustment and contaminated, steering components that were loose, oil leaks in various places, slack adjusters that were inadequate, and an unsecured fire extinguisher.

Until the company corrects the issues listed by the FMCSA, the company cannot transport any cargo. Violation of the order could result in civil penalties up to $25,702 depending on the violation, and criminal charges can be brought forth if the violation was deemed as "willful" with a potential penalty of $25,000 and up to one year in prison.

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