Trucking Company Involved in Explosion Ordered off the Road
By joan lowy, associated pressWASHINGTON — Oct 7, 2016, 5:30 PM ET
A trucking company that was recently involved in an explosion while hauling automobile air bag inflators was ordered to take its vehicles off the road Friday by federal regulators who said they found a long list of serious safety violations.
Industrial Transit Inc. of LaGrange, Georgia, must immediately halt all operations because the company poses "an imminent hazard to public safety," the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said.
One of the company's trucks was hauling inflators made by Takata Corp. in August when it crashed, caught fire, exploded and destroyed a house near the small Texas border town of Quemado. A woman in the house was killed, four others were injured and several other houses damaged. The truck was speeding while approaching a curve when the crash occurred, the agency said.
The small trucking company recently used drivers without commercial licenses, did not perform required drug and alcohol tests, and didn't follow the requirements of its license to haul hazardous materials, among other violations, the safety administration said in its out-of-service order.
During each of last 10 times the company's trucks were pulled over for a random, roadside inspection, the trucks were ordered to stay off the road or cited for safety violations, the agency said. The safety administration's investigation also found major safety defects with the company's trucks, including out-of-adjustment and contaminated brakes, oil leaks, loose steering system components, inadequately working air-brake components, and an unsecured fire extinguisher.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that fills air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to prolonged heat and humidity and burn too fast. That can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers. As many as 15 people, including 10 in the U.S., have been killed by exploding Takata inflators, and more than 100 have been hurt.
About 69 million vehicles in the U.S. and about 100 million worldwide with the problem inflators have been recalled.
Industrial Transit officials didn't return a phone call asking comment.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered a LaGrange, Georgia-based trucking company, Industrial Transit, Inc., USDOT No. 814459, to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate operations after a federal investigation found the company to pose an imminent hazard to public safety. The carrier was served the federal order on October 4, 2016.
Industrial Transit operates five commercial trucks and principally transports automotive parts across the country, including passenger vehicle air bags and related air bag components – some of which are federally designated hazardous materials (HM) Class 1.1, 1.3, and 9 products that are volatile and potentially highly explosive.
On August 22, 2016, an Industrial Transit truck traveling in Maverick County, Texas, and transporting Takata air bag components approached a curve at an unsafe speed, traveled off the roadway, striking a culvert, and rolled over. The truck caught fire and the Takata air bag components being transported in the vehicle exploded, leveling a nearby house and garage and damaging multiple houses in the area. The occupant of the leveled house was killed. The Industrial Transit team drivers and a couple in a nearby car were injured.
A post-crash investigation conducted by FMCSA safety investigators found the company to be in violation of multiple federal safety statutes and regulations including:
- Failing to comply with any driver qualification requirements,
including ensuring that its drivers were properly licensed and
physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
Within the last two and a half months, the company allowed two drivers
to operate its vehicles without possessing a valid commercial driver’s
- Failing to sufficiently implement a random alcohol and drug testing
program for its drivers. In one instance, FMCSA investigators found
that Industrial Transit had allowed a driver who had refused to submit
to a random controlled substances test to continue to operate a
commercial truck hauling explosive HM;
- Failing to ensure that its vehicles were regularly inspected,
maintained, repaired, and met minimum safety standards. During the last
ten vehicle roadside inspections, all of the company’s commercial
vehicles were placed out-of-service or cited for safety violations.
During FMCSA’s investigation, major safety defects discovered included
out-of-adjustment and contaminated brakes, oil leaks, loose steering
system components, inadequately working slack adjusters, and an
unsecured fire extinguisher;
- Failing to properly monitor its drivers to ensure compliance with
maximum hours-of-service requirements prohibiting fatigued operation of
commercial motor vehicles;
- Failing to provide any of its HM employees with function-specific
HM training or in-depth security training. Such training covers the
particular knowledge, skills, and abilities each driver needs to perform
HM transport tasks properly and safely;
- Failing to comply with other related federal safety regulations
involving required HM shipping paper information. Such documentation is
required to be in the possession of the driver and includes the
quantity, weight, and net explosive weight of the HM, identifies the
explosive shipped as a HM product, and includes an emergency response
telephone number and additional information for emergency responders.
Industrial Transit also failed to notify the National Response Center within 12 hours of the crash, and;
- Failing to have HM security or communication plans in place, therefore not satisfying the conditions for receiving a HM safety permit.
Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in a penalty of up to $25,705, operating without necessary authority may result in a fine of not less than $10,282, and operating without a USDOT number may result in a civil penalty of up to $14,502. A violation of this order may also result in a criminal penalty, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year.
FMCSA is also considering civil penalties for the safety violations discovered during the investigation and may refer this matter for criminal prosecution.
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at: