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highway 99 articles

Long hours, fatigue made deadly Arizona fuel truck crash inevitable, whistleblower says

Arizona officials investigating the deadly August 1 crash of an asphalt oil truck in North Phoenix said that driver fatigue was to blame, and a whistleblower has bolstered those findings with claims that Cactus Transport forces its drivers to work dangerously long driving shifts without a break. Witnesses told investigators that they noticed the oil tanker swerving in the southbound lanes on Interstate 17 just before 5 a.m. The truck then ran onto the median, struck a sign post, and rolled over. The driver of the truck was killed. No other vehicles were involved, but the crash ruptured the tank ... Read More

Feds side with Oregon truck driver whistleblower, order reinstatement and back pay

An Oregon truck driver who filed a whistleblower complaint against her employer alleging she was fired for refusing to drive an unsafe truck will receive back wages and compensation for legal fees in addition to being reinstated to her job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced. After completing an investigation of the complaint, OSHA ordered Terry Unrein, an independent trucking contractor based in Gresham, Ore., to reinstate the driver, who was fired in late 2011 after she refused to drive a five-ton truck with inadequate tire tread on public highways. According to OSHA, Terry Unrein fired the driver ... Read More

Federal agencies partner up to improve whistleblower protections for commercial drivers

Better oversight of whistleblower protections afforded by the federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) is the aim of a memorandum of understanding signed by leaders of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The joint effort will strengthen coordination and cooperation between the two agencies, resulting in better anti-retaliation protections for employees of the commercial truck and bus industries. According to OSHA, the memorandum “allows for the exchange of safety, coercion and retaliation allegations when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.” The STAA shields drivers and ... Read More

Company ordered to reinstate, compensate truck drivers it fired for voicing safety concerns

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Pontiac, Mich.-based Asphalt Specialists Inc. to pay $1 million in back wages and damages and reinstate a foreman and two truck drivers who were fired after voicing safety concerns. According to OSHA, Asphalt Specialists fired the foreman on June 30, 2012, after he repeatedly raised concerns to the company’s co-owner about being forced to exceed hours-of-service (HOS) rules, which regulate commercial drivers’ periods of work and rest and are intended to mitigate driver fatigue. Company managers “repeatedly failed to allow for the 10-hour rest period mandated by the Department of Transportation,” ... Read More

Seven passengers injured after bus driver suffers heart attack behind the wheel

Seven employees of an Alaskan seafood company were injured Sunday morning after the driver of a company bus they were riding in suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness, causing him to crash into a tree. Alaska State Troopers said the driver, 59-year-old Stephen Battershall of Sterling, Alaska, died at the scene of natural causes. The seven injured passengers were taken to Central Peninsula Hospital in Kenai for treatment. Their injuries, though not specified, were deemed to be non-life-threatening. The bus belonged to Snug Harbor Seafoods, a Kenai-based purveyor of fresh and frozen salmon and other Alaskan seafood. It was ... Read More

Driver of New York City tour bus used drugs before crash in Times Square

NEW YORK CITY — The driver behind the wheel of a double-decker tour bus that crashed into another double-decker bus in Times Square Tuesday afternoon failed sobriety tests at the crash scene and later tested positive for drug use. William Dalambert, 58, of Irvington, N.J., remains in police custody after causing the collision, which injured 14 people in the vicinity of a TKTS kiosk, which sells discounted tickets to Broadway shows. Mr. Dalambert’s Gray Line bus also hit a GMC Yukon SUV and toppled a street light at 47th St. and 7th Ave. that narrowly missed striking a toddler from ... Read More

Alabama State Troopers ride along with truckers to spot bad drivers

A safety program putting Alabama State Troopers in the passenger seats of tractor trailers is resulting in a number of drivers being ticketed for texting and driving, improper lane usage, cutting commercial trucks and other vehicles off, and other aggressive and unsafe driving habits. TACT, which stands for Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, is a crackdown on bad drivers jointly run by the Alabama Department of Public Safety and the Alabama Trucking Association. The program resembles an undercover operation to some extent, with state troopers riding along with commercial truck drivers as “spotters” on the lookout for poor and aggressive ... Read More

Canadian passengers injured in N.Y. bus crash file personal-injury lawsuit in U.S.

A group of Canadian tourists who were injured in a July 18 bus crash near Rochester, N.Y. are suing the Quebec-based bus operator and tour company in the U.S. Lawyers involved in the case told the Toronto Sun that plaintiffs were likely to receive fairer compensation through the U.S. court system than they would by filing their lawsuit in Canada, where $326,000 is the most in damages they can expect to see from a case. The tour bus, owned by Fleur de Lys, was subcontracted by JaimonVoyage.com to take a group of 56 passengers from Quebec to New York City. ... Read More

Most victims in charter bus/FedEx collision died of smoke inhalation

Seven of the 10 people who died in a fiery bus California bus crash in April survived the crash initially but then died of smoke inhalation, the Coroner of Glenn County, Calif., found. The April 10 crash occurred in the Northern California city of Orland when a FedEx truck veered off the highway and collided with a charter bus full of college-bound students. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators said the FedEx truck was traveling south on Interstate 5 when it veered left and crossed a 58-foot-wide median before entering oncoming traffic. The FedEx truck swiped a Nissan sedan with ... Read More

New York City pothole blamed for Canadian bus crash went unrepaired for months

Residents, commuters, and workers in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City say a dangerously deep pothole that caused a charter bus carrying a company of young Canadian dancers to crash has been gone unrepaired despite complaints. The bus, operated by Optimum Rides of New Brunswick, Canada, hit the massive pothole near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel around 8:10 a.m. July 17, sending it over a curb and crashing into scaffolding on a West 41st St. building near 10th Ave. The bus was carrying a group of dancers from the Dance Zone Studio in New Brunswick to Carlo’s ... Read More