The FMCSA served a New Mexico driver, Ernisto S. Mora, with an effective shut down order as an “imminent hazard to the public safety” and ordered him not to operate any commercial vehicle in interstate commerce on July 3rd. The incident leading to the federal order occurred on June 13th at 3:55PM CDT when Mora veered into oncoming traffic in a construction zone in Pratt County, Kansas. Mora’s passenger, as well as the driver of the other truck, were both killed in the accident.
During a roadside inspection at 10AM that same day, Mora had been placed out-of-service for 10 hours for failure to provide any record-of-duty-status. The driver’s truck had also been placed out-of-service with “numerous safety deficiencies,” according to the FMCSA. The violations included severely worn tires and defective breaks. FMCSA regulations require that vehicles with violations should not be driven until all repairs are made. In this instance, the tractor had been repaired but not the trailer.
During the investigation of the fatal crash, the FMCSA estimated that the driver had been driving continuously for at least 38 of the 45 hours prior to the crash. It was also discovered that the electronic logging device (ELD) may have been disabled or disconnected in prior trips.
Mora has been charged by the State of Kansas for two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Other charges include following too closely, operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) after being declared out-of-service, and for violating hours-of-service (HOS) safety regulations that are designed to prevent fatigued driving.
EZ Logz strongly supports the use of ELDs to save lives. Your drivers risk their lives every day that rogue operators like this are let loose on US roadways. Fleet managers also have an obligation to monitor their driver’s behavior to prevent abuse. Rogue operators attempt to drive down freight rates. Make sure we all have a level playing field.