U.S. Department of Transportation Declares Illinois Long-Haul Truck Driver to be an Imminent Hazard
February 11, 2014
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Illinois-licensed truck driver Renato V. Velasquez to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce following a Jan. 27 crash that killed an Illinois Tollway worker and seriously injured an Illinois State Police trooper.
“Safety for all travelers is our highest priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Willfully reckless commercial drivers that jeopardize the safety of everyone on our highways and roads will not be tolerated.”
FMCSA safety investigators found that prior to the crash, Velasquez violated federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigue and falsified his logbooks with the intent of concealing the number of hours he worked.
The investigators concluded that for a period of 26-hours during Jan. 26-27, Velasquez operated a tractor-trailer for approximately 1,000 miles, only resting between 3-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours – well short of the federally required rest period. Before reaching his last scheduled stop, Velasquez crashed into two fully illuminated stationary vehicles, an Illinois State Police car with its emergency lights activated and an Illinois Tollway vehicle with an activated warning arrow, outside of Naperville, Ill., causing the fatality and life-threatening injury.
“This heart-breaking and senseless crash has forever changed the lives of many families,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Commercial drivers that knowingly jeopardize innocent lives by violating safety standards and attempt to cover up their illegal behavior should have no doubt that we will vigorously enforce all federal safety regulations to the fullest extent possible by law.”
Velasquez has been charged by Illinois authorities with multiple felony violations. The investigation remains open.
Federal safety regulations prohibit commercial truck drivers from driving for more than 11 hours each shift and/or remaining on duty after 14 hours of work.