FMCSA: Minnesota Truck Driver Falsified Documents, Declared an Imminent Hazard

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared Minnesota-licensed truck driver John Ray Carpenter to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce.

According to the FMCSA, an investigation revealed that Carpenter, a commercial driver’s license holder, is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Carpenter was served the federal order on Nov. 6, 2015.

On Oct. 22, 2015, while driving a company truck in Crystal Bay Township, Minn., Carpenter reportedly suffered a medical problem, which caused his vehicle to cross into oncoming traffic, collide into a passenger vehicle, and fatally injure the driver.

Following the crash, Carpenter revealed to federal and state investigators that he had experienced approximately six previous episodes involving medical problems while driving, some of which also resulted in crashes.

In the past four months, investigators also found multiple violations by Carpenter of federal hours-of-service regulations, which are designed to prevent fatigued driving. On the day prior to the fatal crash in October, investigators found evidence that Carpenter had falsified his records of duty status.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Lawsuit Alleges Truck Driver Speeding and Distracted, Causing Wreck that Killed Family of Four

A Navy corpsman whose wife and three children were killed on the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida is now suing the trucker and multiple other companies, blaming them for the tragedy that changed his life forever.

Shortly after the crash in March 2015, Dexter Culclager, who remained vigilant through the heartache, took to Facebook, posting the following message about the deadly accident to friends and family in Arkansas.

“I am being strong as I can for everyone in the family and I’m working as fast as I can to bring them home to you guys,” stated Culclager.

Authorities say Culclager’s wife and three children were killed when their SUV that had broken down on the bridge was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. Yakel Culclager, 36, and her three children — 18-year-old Tre’Quis Woods-Sims, 17-year-old Tradesia Woods-Sims and 6-year-old Trevieon Woods-Franklin all burned to death.

Fast forward eight months later, and Culclager has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against, Judson Humphries, the trucker who authorities say hit his family. This lawsuit alleges more than a dozen different counts that lead up to the deadly crash, including that Humphries wasn’t even qualified to drive the truck.

“Anybody would want justice served and that’s all I am seeking — just to know why it happened and how it happened and what could have been done to prevent it,” Culclager told First Coast News. “Safety is key in daily living, especially on the roadways. … You have to be undivided in your attention and safe on the road. You can’t let distractions get the best of you.”

The preliminary Highway Patrol report states that Humphries “failed to slow” and operated the truck in a “careless or negligent manner.” Records show Humphries was distracted before his big rig slammed into the SUV, causing it to eventually burst into flames, killing the family inside.

“Instead of looking 15 seconds ahead and driving safely as a reasonable professional tractor-trailer driver would, Humphries chose to drive his semi while distracted, on cruise control and in a dangerous, reckless and unsafe manner,” the lawsuit states.

Humphries was not properly licensed to drive the tractor trailer after testing positive for a controlled substance, the report said. In lieu of charges, he’s be cited for a non-criminal traffic violation.

Along with Humphries and his company, Hobit Express, the lawsuit also sues Sunteck Transport Group, Sunteck Transport Co., General Motors and North Florida Lubes.

The lawsuit is expected to be heard in court in mid-2016.

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Georgia Trucker Falsifies Medical Records, Ordered to Stop Driving after Wreck

A Georgia trucker driver has been ordered to shut down after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared him to be an imminent hazard to public safety. The driver has been identified as Matthew Jason Boozer. Authorities have demanded that he not operate any commercial vehicle in interstate commerce.

According to an FMCSA, an investigation recently uncovered that Boozer is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle on the roadways and that he had falsified the medical history section of a recent truck driving job application to conceal a disqualifying medical diagnosis.

On July 6, 2015, while driving a commercial vehicle on Georgia State Route 11, Boozer reportedly suffered a medical problem, resulting in his truck crossing both lanes of traffic and crashing through a fence before colliding into a parked vehicle.

Following the crash, Boozer was sent by his employer to a physician who declared him to be medically unqualified; Boozer then fired from his job as a truck driver.

Officials then say that just one day after the accident, Boozer, filled out another truck driving application for a different employer and falsified the medical history section to conceal the medical disqualification issued the previous day, which referenced a 2011 disqualifying medical diagnosis.

Authorities say that Boozer was then hired on the basis of his fraudulent job application and drove trucks for his new employer through September 17, 2015 when his employer became aware of his July 6, 2015 crash and his disqualifying medical condition.

According to the FMCSA, violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense could result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are also a possibility.

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Two Tractor Trailers Plunge From Interstate, Create Chaos Down Below

A crash involving two 18 wheelers on a highly traveled Georgia highway turned into a traffic nightmare for Atlanta drivers —and one they’d probably like to quickly forget. Cleanup reportedly took well more than 24 hours, and as you might imagine it created a big mess down below.

Several media outlets say the accident involved a Publix tractor trailer and tanker truck. Police say the crash between the two commercial vehicles forced them both to drive off the Interstate 285 bridge and onto GA. 400.

The fuel tanker was said to be carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline but first responders with Sandy Springs Fire Rescue says the fuel was contained inside the vehicle and there was no leak.

After it landed, the Publix truck ended upside down. The tanker landed on its side. Authorities say both truck drivers were briefly trapped in their trucks but were pulled out.

Shortly after the crash, Publix issued the following statement: “Thank you for your inquiry about our truck driver involved in the accident earlier today. He has been taken to a North Fulton Hospital where he is being examined. Our thoughts and prayers are with both drivers involved in the accident.”

Surprisingly, there were no fatalities involved. According to WXIA-TV, the drivers of both trucks were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of another vehicle involved in the accident was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

What caused the crash to begin with is still a big mystery. In an article by the AJC, Sandy Springs Police Department spokesman Sgt. Ron Momon has declined to comment on a possible reason for the crash, saying details would be released “whenever our investigators finish their investigation.”

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Tractor Trailer Bill Attracts the Attention of Georgia Department of Transportation

A federal bill to make tractor trailers safer has caught the attention of the Georgia Department of Transportation. This piece of legislation comes after five nursing students were killed and three others seriously injured in April when an 18 wheeler failed to stop, plowing into traffic that had stopped on I-16 in Georgia.

A few weeks later, in May of 2015, five more people died when another tractor-trailer smashed into two cars and burst into flames on the same section of highway.

The accidents prompted Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson to introduce the “Safe Roads Act of 2015” this month.

“Tragically, the simple installation of automatic braking systems on all commercial motor vehicles – a $500 safety feature – might have prevented these deaths and countless others across the country,” said Johnson. “America’s roads and highways should be safe for all drivers. Taking full advantage of technologies that are available and proven to anticipate and prevent crashes will save lives.”

According the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2011 alone, commercial motor vehicles were involved in nearly 130,000 crashes, resulting in more than 4,000 fatalities and 80,000 injuries.

Johnson stated that truck and bus traffic on the roadways are expected to increase due to the forecasted growth in population and the corresponding increase in movement of freight and passengers. The congressman stressed that any increase in truck and bus traffic also increases the potential for additional accidents.

If passed and signed into law, requiring Forward Collision Avoidance and Mitigation or (F-CAM) would bring down the costs per vehicle to approximately $500, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) estimates — which Hanson says far outweighs the costs in terms of preventing lost productivity, injury and loss of life.

Here at the Truck Accident Attorneys, we commend Hanson for taking the initiative to make America’s roadways safer. We hope that lawmakers nationwide will see the value in such a bill and pass it into law immediately.

If you or a loved one have ever been hurt or injured in a crash or have lost a loved due to an accident involving a tractor trailer, contact us today at (800) 628-4500 to find out how we may assist you with your case.

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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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