Mexico-based trucker shut down following crash, failed drug test

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Jan. 8, 2021: 

Mexico-based trucker effectively shut down by FMCSA
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared a Mexico-licensed truck driver, Mario Alberto Leal-Salas, to be an imminent hazard to public safety, effectively barring him from operating in the U.S. The declaration follows a crash in Georgia that left several people injured.

On Nov. 16, 2020, Leal-Salas, who holds a U.S.-accepted Mexican commercial driver’s license (CDL) and who was at the time employed by W Freight Services, LLC, was driving on Georgia Highway 96 when he failed to stop for a red light at the intersection of State Route 3. This caused a multi-vehicle, chain-reaction crash and fire that severely injured three people, including Leal-Salas, FMCSA says.

An FMCSA investigation found that approximately three weeks before the crash, Leal-Salas had tested positive for a cocaine metabolite, benzoylecgonine, during a mandatory pre-employment drug and alcohol screening. Any driver who fails any drug and alcohol test, or refuses to submit to testing, is immediately prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle, with that information recorded in FMCSA's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – Leal-Salas' drug test failure included.  

FMCSA investigators further discovered that roughly two weeks following the crash, as early as Dec. 4, and again on Dec. 17, although prohibited, Leal-Salas continued to operate a commercial vehicle. The agency says its investigation also found “multiple instances of Leal-Salas seriously exceeding federal hours-of-service limitations.”

Top 20 'Best Fleets to Drive For' announced by TCA
The Truckload Carriers Association, in partnership with CarriersEdge, has announced the 2021 Best Fleets to Drive For.

The Best Fleets contest is based on driver surveys and interviews conducted by CarriersEdge and seeks to recognize for-hire trucking companies that provide the best workplace experience for drivers. To be considered for the program, fleets must operate at least 10 trucks and be nominated by one of their company drivers or owner-operators. The carriers were then evaluated on various categories, including compensation, benefits, performance management, professional development, advancement opportunities and more.

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Two overall winners — in small and large fleet categories — will be named during TCA’s annual convention April 17-20 in Las Vegas. The 2020 winners were Nussbaum and Boyle Transportation.

The 20 Best Fleets to Drive For for 2020 are:

  • American Central Transport — Kansas City, Missouri
  • Bison Transport Inc. — Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Boyle Transportation — Billerica, Massachusetts
  • Central Oregon Truck Company, Inc. — Redmond, Oregon
  • Challenger — Cambridge, Ontario
  • Chief Carriers, Inc. — Grand Island, Nebraska
  • Erb Transport — New Hamburg, Ontario
  • Fortigo Freight Services Inc. — Etobicoke, Ontario
  • Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc. — Fremont, Nebraska
  • FTC Transportation, Inc. — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Garner Trucking, Inc. — Findlay, Ohio
  • Grand Island Express — Grand Island, Nebraska
  • Halvor Lines, Inc. — Superior, Wisconsin
  • Jetco Delivery — Houston, Texas
  • Nussbaum Transportation Services, Inc. — Hudson, Illinois
  • Prime Inc. — Springfield, Missouri
  • Thomas E. Keller Trucking Inc. — Defiance, Ohio
  • Transpro Freight Systems Limited — Milton, Ontario
  • Wellington Motor Freight — Aberfoyle, Ontario
  • Wilson Logistics Inc. — Springfield, Missouri

In addition to the Top 20, TCA and CarriersEdge identified five Fleets to Watch (honorable mentions). The Top 5 Fleets to Watch are:

  • AirTime Express — Mississauga, Ontario
  • Boyd Bros. Transportation — Clayton, Alabama
  • Carbon Express, Inc. — Wharton, New Jersey
  • K & J Trucking — Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Western Dairy Transport — Cabool, Missouri

Love's opens 7 new Speedco locations
Love's Travel Stops announced this week the opening of seven new Speedco locations at existing Love's stores. The locations offer tire, lube and light mechanical services, as well as DOT inspections. The new Speedco locations are:

  • Speedco – 1500 Monticello Road, Madison, Georgia
  • Speedco – 14414 S Cross L Road, Mayer, Arizona
  • Speedco – 150 Couchville Industrial Blvd., Mt. Juliet, Tennessee
  • Speedco – 27201 Boron Frontage Road North, Boron, California
  • Speedco – 1900 The Hill Ave., Marion, Illinois
  • Speedco – 1525 E 8th Ave., Cordele, Georgia
  • Speedco – 809 Moore Ave., Tuscola, Illinois