Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021:
Idaho-based trucker effectively shut down by FMCSA following crash, DUI charges
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has effectively shut down an Idaho-based truck driver after a crash in which he was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of more than three times the legal limit for CDL holders.
Shane R. Warr was driving on I-15 in Pocatello, Idaho, on Feb. 3, when his truck crossed the median and struck two passenger vehicles, with one of the drivers requiring transport to a hospital.
Warr submitted to two breathalyzer tests conducted by Idaho State Police at the scene of the crash. Conducted minutes apart, the first test returned a BAC of 0.132; the second 0.124. The legal BAC limit for CDL holders is 0.04.
Warr has been charged by the state of Idaho with the felony offense of driving under the influence of alcohol. He has also been charged with two misdemeanors: possession of an open container and carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of alcohol.
In August 2016, Warr was convicted in Idaho for driving under the influence of alcohol and had his license suspended for one year, FMCSA says.
Failing to comply with the provisions of the federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.
Warr may not operate a commercial motor vehicle until he successfully completes the statutorily required return-to-duty process overseen by a substance abuse professional.
Fuel prices jump to highest point since Jan. 2020, near $3 national average
Diesel fuel prices jumped nearly 10 cents in the most recent week, bringing the national average to its highest mark since the end of January 2020, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly fuel price update.
During the week ending Feb. 22, the U.S.’ average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel increased by 9.7 cents to $2.973. Prices have increased for 16 consecutive weeks and have jumped 23.5 cents since the beginning of February.
During the most recent week, prices increased in all regions, with the most significant increase being seen in the Lower Atlantic region, where prices rose by 12.3 cents.
The nation’s most expensive fuel is in California at $3.739 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $3.132 per gallon.
The cheapest diesel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.722 per gallon, followed by the Rocky Mountain region at $2.856 per gallon.
Prices in other regions, according to DOE, are:
- New England – $2.962
- Lower Atlantic – $2.921
- Midwest – $2.945
- West Coast less California – $3.063
ProMiles’ numbers during the same week saw fuel prices increase by 7.9 cents, bringing its national average to $2.832 per gallon.
According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $3.58 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.633 per gallon.
Large fleet gets waiver allowing certain pre-CDL drivers to drive team
Wilson Logistics has received a waiver from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allowing commercial learner’s permit holders who have passed the CDL skills test but not yet obtained their CDL to operate a truck without a CDL holder in the front seat, effectively allowing these drivers to run team.
The waiver is effective for five years through Feb. 23, 2026.
Wilson, in its request for the waiver, said the regulation requiring a CDL holder in the front seat “creates undue burdens on the company” because it requires the company to either secure public transportation for the CLP holder to return to his or her home state to pick up their CDL, or route the driving team directly to the CLP holder’s home state, often against the flow of the freight network.
Other fleets have received similar waivers, including C.R. England, which first received the waiver in 2015.
I-10 restrictions planned in Arizona next week
The Arizona Department of Transportation is planning daytime restrictions along eastbound I-10 south of Chandler for March 1-5.
ADOT says drivers should plan on adding extra time for travel between Phoenix and Tucson due to maintenance work taking place at the Gila River bridge south of Chandler.
The interstate will be narrowed to one lane at the bridge, east of Riggs Road, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 1, through Friday, March 5, while crews repair a concrete barrier wall.
HHG mover pleads guilty to moving scam conspiracy
A Florida-based household goods mover pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to conspiring in a racketeering enterprise to defraud individuals throughout the U.S.
According to the DOT Office of Inspector General, beginning around February 2014, Seth Nezat participated in a scheme that defrauded, extorted and stole from customers who hired certain moving companies to move their household goods.
To obtain customers, the companies allegedly provided low binding estimates and promised to beat their competitors’ prices.
According to an investigation, the scheme involved the companies loading customers’ goods onto a truck, increasing the price of the move, and holding the goods hostage until the customer paid the inflated prices. OIG also alleges the companies also charged customers for moving more cubic feet of household goods than they actually loaded and did not deliver some household goods at all.
When customers complained, the conspirators would shut down the latest iteration of the moving company and open a new one, falsifying information about the owners’ identities in order to fraudulently receive operating licenses from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, OIG adds. The scheme defrauded more than 1,800 victims. In total, the conspiracy is valued at $1 million to $3.5 million.