U.S. safety regulators deemed a Massachusetts-based commercial trucking firm and its owner to be “an imminent hazard to public safety” and ordered them to immediately cease all their trucking operations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said it found that Kamway Services of Lowell, Mass. and John Kamau, a commercial driver and the company’s owner, completely ignored critical federal safety regulations, and that its violations put the public at risk.
The agency came to its conclusion after an investigation of a fatal crash in Maine involving Kamway and Mr. Kamau. On Nov. 18, 2016, a Kamway truck driven by Mr. Kamau was traveling on I-95 in York County, Maine, when it struck the back of a car that had slowed due to traffic. The impact pushed the passenger vehicle into the back of a tractor-trailer truck immediately ahead of it, fatally crushing both occupants of the car, including a 5-year-old boy.
An 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.
FMCSA found Kamway failed to comply with any driver qualification requirements, including ensuring that its drivers were properly licensed and physically qualified to operate a commercial truck. A Kamway Services official told FMCSA investigators that it maintained no driver records, including a driver qualification file for Mr. Kamau.
Additionally, the company and its owner also failed to monitor its drivers and ensure compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) requirements designed to eliminate commercial driver fatigue. A Kamway official told FMCSA regulators that the company did not keep records-of-duty-status or supporting documents.
Kamway also failed regularly inspect, maintain or repair its commercial trucks and ensure that they met minimum safety standards. During FMCSA’s investigation, Kamway was unable to produce the required maintenance records or periodic vehicle inspection reports, the agency said.
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,” the FMCSA said.
The agency said it is currently assessing potential civil and criminal penalties for the violations and may refer the case for criminal prosecution.