Semi Wreck Causes More Crashes After Unleashing 20 Million Bees Onto Roadway

On Thursday afternoon, the Idaho State Police say a crash involving a semi created resulted in multiple crashes along I-15 at milepost 71, in Pocatello, ID.

Police say Robert M. Langford, 32, of Ogden, UT, was driving a semi pulling a trailer loaded with thousands of bees.

Authorities say Langford was reaching for an item located in the cab of his 18-wheeler when he drove off the roadway, hitting a concrete barrier under the overpass. The vehicle continued off the roadway and overturned.

Langford was transported by ground ambulance to the Portneuf Medical Center, in Pocatello. The right lane of travel was blocked for approximately three and a half hours.

About 15 minutes after the 18-wheeler’s crash, local media outlets reported another crash on I-15 near the Pocatello 5th Ave. exit involving a motorcycle, according to the Idaho State Journal.

There was an additional crash in the area at 2:15 p.m. on the northbound side of I-15 about two miles north of Pocatello and the bee crash. This crash involved a tanker semi and a car. The car rolled and is on its top and one of the tankers on the semi also rolled.

Butte County Sheriff Wes Collins told the newspaper that he tried to save some of 408 beehives that were dumped onto the sagebrush but was unable to. The bees, 20 million of them, were being transported by a tractor trailer from Idaho to North Dakota.

Brian Wiggins, co-owner of Idaho-based KatieBee Honey, told the Idaho State Journal that the loss represents about 50 percent of his business. He did not provide a dollar estimate but said the loss was covered by insurance.

This crash remains under investigation by Idaho State Police.

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Trucker Likely To Be Charged With Reckless Driving

Troopers with the Washingston State Patrol say the driver of an 18-wheeler will likely be cited for reckless driving. They say Mark Bailey, 58, caused an accident that sent five people to the hospital the other day. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

Authorities say that on Thursday, Bailey was driving a 2013 Kenworth tractor-trailer when he tried to enter the emergency turnaround in the highway median. While trying to maneuver from Point A to Point B, troopers say Bailey turned in front of a 1990 Mercury Sable.

When he turned in front of the car, troopers say the car became lodged under the semi, forcing both vehicles to come to a complete stop in the turnaround. Bailey was not injured in the crash.

However, the folks in the car weren’t so lucky. Authorities say all five people suffered injuries. The Sable’s driver, Michael Goyne, 42, of Moses Lake, was taken to a nearby hospital, along with passengers Roberta Goyne, 63, of George; Ethan Howe, 20; Emmett Howe, 13; and Alyssa Howe, 10, all of Moses Lake. Two of the passengers were treated and released from the hospital within hours.

Usually, many vehicle fatalities involve people who fail to wear their seatbelts. In this particular accident, troopers say all occupants were wearing seat belts.

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NTSB Rules Trucker That Seriously Injured Comedian Tracy Morgan Was Fatigued, Speeding

According to NTSB officials, a truck driver’s deadly crash involving SNL funnyman Tracy Morgan and his good friend, comedian James McNair, was due to extreme fatigue.

Kevin Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, reportedly hadn’t slept in 28 hours when he crashed his 18-wheeler into the limo Morgan and McNair were traveling in. Although, Morgan survived the crash, it left him severely injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that Roper had also been traveling 65 mph before the collision near Cranbury, N.J., in a construction zone where the speed limit was 45 mph in the early hours of June 7, 2014.

“Drivers have a professional responsibility to do the right thing,” NTSB member Robert Sumwalt stated. “Their professional obligation is to their company and the people who share the road with them. This driver abdicated each of those responsibilities.”

The day before the crash, NTSB authorities say Roper made an 800-mile overnight drive from his home in Georgia to his workplace in Delaware, and then reported for duty without obtaining any sleep, which substantially contributed to his fatigue.

“Hours-of-service rules cannot address what drivers do on their own time,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “This driver had been on duty 13 ½ hours of a 14-hour workday, but had been awake more than 28 hours at the time of the crash. Fatigue management programs can help.”

At the time of the accident, Walmart reportedly addressed fatigue as a part of its driver training, but it did not have a structured fatigue management program in place that could have improved its ability to better monitor its drivers and educate them about the risks of fatigue.

According to NTSB authorities, heavy trucks are involved in nearly one in eight fatal crashes. In work zones, such as the one in which this crash occurred, one in four fatal crashes involves a heavy truck. Roper is said to have traveled 0.9 miles past the first work zone sign and more than 0.4 miles past the 45 mph speed limit sign without slowing his speed from 65 mph.

While the NTSB found fault with Roper, it also determined that the serious injuries to the occupants seated in the passenger compartment of the limo van were due in part to their failure to use available seat belts and properly adjusted head restraints.

The NTSB has reiterated a recommendation to the FMCSA to require operators to give pretrip safety briefings to passengers concerning the importance of safety equipment and how to exit the vehicle in an emergency.

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USDOT Determined To Curbed Semi Parking Along Freeways, Highways

Courtesy: KHOU-TV

Courtesy: KHOU-TV

We’ve heard or read time and time again how parked semis on major highways have led to some pretty serious accidents—some fatal. Just this month in Houston, Texas a semi parked on a highway shoulder for two days was involved in a crash that claimed the life of 42-year-old Marcus Fulton. The driver, 68-year-old Blooki Yahya was with the truck, in the sleeper when the accident happened. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Two months earlier, a woman died after crashing her car into an 18-wheeler parked on the side of another major Houston highway. According to authorities, the woman apparently did not see the truck on the side of the road before slamming into the back end. She reportedly died on impact.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is on a mission to reduce the amount of semis parked along major U.S. highways. In fact, the agency recently conducted a study which revealed some pretty unsettling results.

USDOT authorities discovered that almost half of the state departments of transportation surveyed reported that truckers were forced to park on freeway interchange ramps and shoulders of highways, in turn, representing a major safety issue.

“We know truck parking has been a longstanding problem in our nation and we need new approaches to fix it,” said U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez. “Now more than ever, this country needs better planning, investment, and innovation from those who have a stake in safe truck parking and transportation.”

The National Coalition on Truck Parking announced that it will continue working to find solutions to truck parking needs and will include the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Trucking Associations, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in finding these solutions.

“Without truck drivers, America’s businesses would suffer and the economy would come to a halt,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “They deliver the goods and products we use every day, and are critical to safe freight movement in our country.”

“Highway safety depends in part on making sure hardworking, professional truck drivers have a safe place to recuperate after spending hours on the road,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We at FMCSA are committed to addressing this shortage of safe and convenient truck parking for the drivers who do so much to advance our economy.”

The “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” Act (MAP-21) required the USDOT to conduct the survey to determine if adequate parking is available for truck drivers based on the level of commercial traffic in the state. Along with state departments of transportation, the USDOT surveyed safety officials, truckers and truck stop operators, and other trucking industry stakeholders.

The Department’s findings in the “Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Results and Comparative Analysis” show most states reported having truck parking shortages occurring at all times of the day on every day of the week. The analysis includes a discussion of the factors that can influence truck parking and offers ways to improve the measurement of the truck parking problem, including the collection of data on supply and demand, congestion and safety.

Over the coming months, representatives with the USDOT and National Coalition on Truck Parking say they will begin discussions with state and local governments, law enforcement and the trucking and business communities to work together to advance truck parking solutions to meet the needs of the nation’s truck drivers.

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Feds Delay Speed Limiter Rule For Heavy Trucks

Image courtesy of marksontok at

Image courtesy of marksontok at

We all know that speed kills. Yet in many crashes nationwide, speed is often a contributing factor. Despite this, some big rigs use it as a competitive advantage. Is this risky? You bet. However, for some truckers paid by the mile or load, driving super fast is viewed as a necessity. The faster they get done with one assignment, the faster they can take on another.

Safety advocates, though, are on a mission to squash this business mentality. Several years ago, the ATA and Roadsafe America jointly asked for the DOT to require speed limiters in trucks with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds. As the name suggests, these devices would limit how fast heavy trucks travel on the road.

Sadly, it may be a while longer before heavy trucks are required to use them. This month it was announced that the proposed rule that would require the installation and use of these devices has been delayed. It’s reportedly receiving an “extended” review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. This, of course, comes as disappointing news to safety advocates.

According to an NHTSA spokesperson, a final date for when the speed limiter rule will be complete has not been determined. A proposal was expected to be published in the Federal Register at the end of September. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

Meanwhile, safety advocates want the limiters to prevent truckers from going above 65 mph. Whether it actually happens, no one really knows just yet. We, however, think that it’s a reasonable speed limit and one that would make our highways safer. FMCSA officials have already stated that if the rule were to go into effect, it would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks.

All class seven and eight trucks manufactured since 1992 already come from the factory with a speed limiter as standard equipment, according to Road Safe America officials. Unfortunately, many trucking companies and individual truckers do not use them. With a few exceptions, they are allowed to travel as fast as passenger cars.

We urge the feds to pass this rule as soon as possible. Stop with the delay. Not only are governed trucks safer, but companies that presently use them have actually reported higher profits due to saved fuel, longer lasting equipment and lower liability costs.

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UPS To Make Its Trucks Safer, Plans To Implement Collision Mitigation Technology

Courtesy: UPS

Courtesy: UPS

UPS, which operates one of the nation’s largest commercial trucking fleets, is on a mission to make the highways safer. According to the company, it plans to make collision mitigation technology standard equipment on every new Class 8 tractor the company orders.

Each of the more than 2,600 new Class 8 tractors that UPS takes delivery of this year will feature this accident mitigation technology, which alerts drivers to moving and stationary objects in front of the tractor and moving objects surrounding the vehicle.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that all passenger and commercial vehicles use this technology. The NTSB’s special report “concludes that collision warning systems, particularly when paired with active braking, could significantly reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.”

“Safety is of the utmost importance to UPS. We’re investing in technology that provides UPS drivers with opportunities to increase visibility of their surroundings in constantly changing environments,” said Randy Stashick, president of engineering for UPS. “The safety benefits of these technologies make incorporating them into UPS’s fleet the right thing to do for our employees and fellow motorists.”

The collision mitigation systems on UPS’s new Class 8 tractors feature lane departure warnings, electronic stability control, and anti-lock air disc brakes. Stability control monitors the tractor trailer’s motions and, especially during turns and slick conditions, automatically distributes braking power to each wheel for a more precise control.

“Collision mitigation systems make good drivers even better,” said Paul Savill, UPS Freight driver and a captain for the American Trucking Association’s America’s Road team. “Traffic conditions can change quickly as other vehicles change lanes. These technologies are an excellent complement to safe driving techniques.”

Bill Lazarski, a UPS Circle of Honor driver who has driven without an accident for 36 years, concurred. “I can’t say enough good things about the collision mitigation technology. I was a little hesitant at first, but adapted very quickly and easily. After using the technology for more than a year, I’m convinced collision mitigation systems can make a positive impact on road safety.”

The collision mitigation features adaptive cruise control, which maintains a constant distance behind the vehicle in front of the UPS tractor. With the adaptive cruise control turned on, the UPS tractor will automatically slow to avoid a collision. Secondary benefits include reducing the accordion effect caused by traffic and, from that, enhanced fuel economy.

Each new UPS Class 8 tractor also features an automated manual transmission, which offers the power and efficiency of a manual transmission with the simplicity of an automatic transmission. Eliminating the need to shift gears provides the driver with greater opportunity to implement proactive defensive driving techniques.


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Kentucky Driver Ordered Not to Drive

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Kentucky-licensed truck driver Benjamin Scott Brewer to be an imminent hazard to public safety.

As a result, Brewer has been ordered him to not operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce following his involvement in a nine-vehicle, six fatality crash that occurred June 25, 2015, along Interstate 75 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Brewer, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was served the federal order on July 19, 2015.

Pete Kotowski, the NTSB investigator in charge, told WRCB-TV Brewer was in his first week of work for the London, Kentucky employer and was involved in another accident in Wildwood, Florida, the day before he crashed in Tennessee.

Because of the severity of the crash, the NTSB deployed an investigative team of 11; typically five are sent, the TV station reported.  An ongoing post-crash investigation by FMCSA investigators revealed that Brewer had falsified his records-of-duty status in the days leading up to the crash, specifically reporting that he had been off-duty from June 15 until 7:00 a.m. on June 25.   The vehicle tracking system used by his employer, along with other records, shows that Brewer had been on-duty and driving on June 22, 23, and 24.

Brewer’s application for employment, dated June 16, 2015, and which required him to list all accidents and traffic convictions occurring in the previous three years, omitted a June 2013 crash and a January 2015 citation for speeding 16-20 miles-per-hour above the limit.

In May 2015, Brewer tested positive for controlled substances following a court-order controlled substances test.

The FMCSA will continue to assist the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is leading the investigation into the June 25, 2015, crash.

According to the Chattanooga Free Times Press, the company that Brewer worked for, Cool Runnings Express, has had safety problems in the past. Inspectors have shut down the company’s trucks because of safety issues with brakes three times since 2013.

The newspaper added that Police in Wisconsin suspected Brewer may have been selling drugs when they arrested him on one count of possession of a prescription drug in 2013. Brewer was arrested in that state after he tried to fill a Florida prescription for a 28-day supply of oxycodone, according to a Janesville police incident report. The pharmacist reportedly thought the request was suspicious and called police.

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Feds Shut Down Bus Company For Alleged Unsafe Vehicles

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently ordered a Utah-based bus company to cease all operations after repeatedly operating unsafe vehicles and for failing to comply with a 2014 federal consent order, FMCSA officials stated.

FMCSA officials stated that Deseret had undergone a compliance review by investigators in late 2013 which ultimately resulted in an unsatisfactory safety rating, prohibiting the company from conducting commercial operations.

According to the company’s website, Deseret Bus Leasing, Inc. had been locally owned, serving the state of Utah since 1977 with “thousands of happy customers.” As of August 2nd, the site’s url no longer loads. The bus company primarily transported children.

The company issued a statement to KSL-TV on Saturday. Although a spokesperson for Deseret Bus confirmed it had, in fact, been issued a cease operations order, the company was “in the process of submitting an administrative review request for the change in safety rating in accordance with DOT rules and regulations.” They also claim initial information was inaccurate but did not elaborate.

In June 2014, following an in depth review by FMCSA of the company’s safety management plan, and upon entering into a federal consent order, Deseret’s safety rating was upgraded to conditional as long as Deseret implemented its safety management plan and complied with the terms of the order.

According to officials, the federal consent order detailed not only the corrective actions the company had taken, but outlined the steps it had agreed were necessary to ensure compliance with federal safety regulations.  These corrective actions included, among others, ensuring that Deseret’s leased and company-owned vehicles were systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained.

Deseret Bus Service further agreed to submit quarterly reports to FMCSA’s Utah Division and provide updated lists of drivers, records of duty status summaries, driver vehicle inspections reports, and all annual and roadside/terminal inspections.

Between January and May 2015, Deseret was subject to 15 vehicle inspections.  On seven occasions, safety inspectors found serious violations that posed a risk to public safety and required vehicles to be placed out-of-service.  Safety violations included defective brakes and brake warning systems, insufficient tire-tread, broken leaf springs, and exhaust leaks.

In its federal consent order, Deseret had also agreed to immediately terminate any driver who knowingly operated a vehicle that had been placed out-of-service before it was repaired.  On multiple occasions, a single driver was found to repeatedly operate a Deseret vehicle that had been placed out-of-service; the driver is still employed by the company.

Operating in violation of an out-of-service order without federal operating authority and a USDOT number may result in civil penalties up to $60,000 for each transportation operation, as well as criminal penalties that may include fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year.

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CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Trooper Lucky To Be Alive After Semi Hits Patrol Car

Courtesy: KCCI-TV

Courtesy: KCCI-TV

Iowa State Trooper Tracy Bohlen is counting his lucky stars these days.

Recently, a semi-truck carrying batteries caught on fire after crashing into a ditch. According to WHO-TV, a man and a woman were inside the 18-wheeler and were able to escape after the driver kicked out the windshield.

Trooper Bohlen was quick to arrive on scene and began directing traffic. However, in the middle of doing so the driver of a SECOND semi came through and lost control, sideswiping Bohlen’s patrol vehicle.

“I’ve been struck before on the interstate with cars and stuff like that but I haven’t been struck or been that close to an 80,000 pound semi,” Bohlen stated. “This was definitely probably the closest call I’ve had in a long time.

Amazingly, dashcam video caught the whole thing on tape. The video shows the 18-wheeler coming up behind the patrol car, then slamming on its brakes. The semi cab makes it around the car, but the trailer brakes appear to lock up and the back end slides around and sideswipes it.

KCCI-TV reported that Bohlen was sitting in his patrol car when he saw the jackknifed semi in his rear view mirror. Fortunately, he was not injured. After watching the video for himself, Bohlen says he knows he’s lucky to be alive.

“Once it’s all over and then you have that opportunity to sit in your car and go, ‘Wow this could have been a lot worse than what it was,’” he said.

The damage to Bohlen’s car is estimated to be around $3,000. According to Iowa State Patrol officials, the driver of the second semi was ticketed for not moving over for emergency responders.

The State of Iowa actually has a ‘move over law.’ It requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles that are stopped or have their lights flashing.

This is not the first time Trooper Bohlen has been in the spotlight. In May, he made national headlines for saving a man whose heart had stopped as he was driving on one of Iowa’s most crowded highways.

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FBI: Truck-Driving School Targeting Russian Speakers Busted For Illegal Licensing

According to FBI officials, federal and state authorities recently charged three Florida residents with operating a fraudulent business for commercial driver’s licenses.

Ellariy Medvednik, 48, Natalia Dontsova, 49, Adrian Salari, 44, and Clarence Davis 76, have all been officially charged with conspiracy to aid and abet the unlawful production of Florida driver licenses and commercial driver licenses (“CDLs”).

According to the indictment, the defendants in the case were affiliated with a business call Larex, Inc., a commercial truck driving school. Larex marketed itself to Russian speakers online. Individuals residing out-of-state seeking Florida CDLs would contact Medvednik to arrange for Larex’s services at the cost of approximately $2,000.

Officials claim that these individuals would then travel to Florida to obtain their CDLs with the intention of returning to their home states immediately afterward. However, to obtain a Florida CDL, an individual must first possess a Florida driver license.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III has stated that the State of Florida restricts its driver licenses and CDLs to Florida residents. Medvednik, Dontsova, and Salari conspired to provide false documentation that the individuals resided with them, so that the individuals could obtain Florida driver licenses, authorities stated.

After allegedly providing the false residency certifications, Larex assisted the students with the additional requirements for obtaining a CDL. First, Dontsova, using covert communication equipment, provided answers to the students during the written portion of the CDL exam, the successful completion of which led to the issuance of a commercial learner’s permit, Bentley stated.

Second, Larex hired Davis, a third-party tester authorized by the State of Florida, to administer vehicle inspection tests, basic control skills tests, and road tests. According to the United States Attorney, Davis routinely passed and certified students who should have failed based on their test performance.

As a result of Davis’s certifications, the individuals were able to obtain Florida CDLs. In return, Davis received from Medvednik approximately $75 per student above his posted rate. At least 600 individuals have been identified as utilizing Larex’s services with Davis as the third-party tester.

Bentley has stressed that all parties are innocent until proven guilty.

“An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty,” Bentley released in a statement.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Florida Highway Patrol. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Embry J. Kidd.

If convicted on all counts, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

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