The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared a Lowell, Massachusetts-based trucking company, Kamway Services, USDOT No. 2509225, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered the company to immediately cease all interstate and intrastate commercial operations. Separately, FMCSA has also declared Kamway Service’s owner and commercial driver, John Kamau, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered him to immediately cease all interstate operations. The federal orders were served on December 20, 2016.
On November 18, a Kamway Services box truck driven by Mr. Kamau along Interstate 95 in York County, Maine struck the rear of a passenger vehicle that had slowed due to traffic. The impact pushed the passenger vehicle into a tractor-trailer truck that was immediately ahead of it. Both occupants of the passenger vehicle, including a five-old-boy, were killed.
A post-crash investigation by FMCSA safety investigators found that at the time of the crash, Mr. Kamau was medically disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
Investigators further 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). During the investigation, a Kamway Services management official stated that it maintained no driver records, including a driver qualification file for Mr. Kamau.
- Failing to properly monitor its drivers to ensure compliance with maximum hours-of-service requirements prohibiting fatigued operation of commercial motor vehicles. A Kamway Services management official stated the company maintained no records-of-duty-status or supporting documents.
- Failing to ensure that its vehicles were regularly inspected, maintained, repaired, and met minimum safety standards. During FMCSA’s investigation, Kamway Services was unable to produce the required maintenance records or periodic vehicle inspection reports.
FMCSA’s investigation found that Kamway Services’ “…complete and utter lack of compliance with (federal safety regulations)… substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for its drivers and the motoring public if (its) operations are not discontinued immediately.”
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 here.