The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared an Ohio truck driver an imminent hazard to public safety for “blatant and egregious violations of the [federal safety regulations] and ongoing and repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public, substantially increasing the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.”
On July 9, 2020, Corey Robert Withrow, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was operating a commercial truck on Interstate 70 in Wayne County, Indiana, at speeds exceeding the posted limit, when he collided with a line of vehicles slowed or stopped in a construction work zone.
Four minor children, siblings, occupants of a private vehicle, were killed. The driver of the private vehicle, the children’s father, was severely burned in the ensuing multi-vehicle fire.
Withrow admitted to Indiana State Police officers at the scene that prior to the crash he had been distracted by looking at his mobile telephone.
Withrow subsequently tested positive for controlled substances, specifically, amphetamines, methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, and cannabis.
The truck driver was charged by the State of Indiana with:
- Four counts of Reckless Homicide;
- Four counts of Causing Death When Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated; and
- One count of Causing Catastrophic Injury When Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated.
Civil penalties of up to $1,848 may be assessed for each violation of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.
Withrow also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the Agency’s safety regulations.
Meantime, the FMCSA has scheduled a virtual summit for August 5, 2020, to solicit information on improving the safe operation of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles on US roadways.
The event will feature an association perspective session, two separate panel discussions on what’s working in the industry, and guest speakers from the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.