FMCSA shuts down trucker after crash, DUI charges

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021:

Massachusetts-licensed trucker shut down following crash, alcohol violations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has effectively shut down Massachusetts-licensed truck driver William Edward Dearth Jr., after he crashed his truck and later failed three breathalyzer tests.

On Aug. 25, Dearth was operating his tractor-trailer on Vermont Route 108 in Lamoille County when his truck left the highway and hit a telephone pole. Dearth left the scene of the crash on foot and was later located by a Vermont State Police K-9 unit and taken into custody.

A preliminary breathalyzer test on Dearth showed a blood alcohol content of 0.217, more than five times the legal limit for commercial vehicle operators. Approximately one hour later, two additional breathalyzer tests, taken within five minutes of each other, resulted in a BAC of 0.20, and 0.197, respectively.

Possessing an alcohol concentration of greater than 0.04 while operating a commercial vehicle weighing more than 26,001 pounds and requiring a CDL is a violation of federal safety regulations. 

During the subsequent inspection of Dearth’s truck, Vermont State Police officers discovered an opened can of beer in the driver’s cup holder, multiple empty beer cans in the trash, and nearly a case of unopened beer elsewhere in the cab.

Dearth has been charged by Vermont State law enforcement with Driving Under the Influence, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and Negligent Operation. 

Failing to comply with the provisions of the FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in civil penalties of up to $1,951 for each violation.  Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties. 

Dearth cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle until he successfully completes the statutorily required return-to-duty process overseen by a substance abuse professional.

apollo ELD added to Canadian registry

apollo ELD by assured Techmatics was posted on Transport Canada’s website as a certified ELD on Sept. 1, bringing the total to four ELDs listed on the country’s ELD registry. apollo received its certification on Aug. 27 through the accredited body Commercial Driver Technology Inc., becoming the first U.S. ELD provider compliant with the Canadian mandate, the company says.

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"We are extremely happy and proud to be among the first ELD providers certified in Canada,” said David Seijo, president of assured Techmatics. “It has been a challenging but a very interesting learning process for us. For nine months, the whole team's focus was to strategize and develop the ELD solution that would work flawlessly in both U.S. and Canada and pass all the 400 pages of certification testing procedures.”

The apollo ELD joins Hutch Systems’ Connect ELD, Diesel Tech Industries’ Guardian ELOG DTIE02, and Pedigree Technologies’ Cab-Mate One as certified ELDs for Canada’s ELD mandate.

The Canadian ELD mandate took effect June 12, 2021, but the rule is not being enforced until June 2022.

[Related: Canada pumps brakes on ELD deadline]

Southeastern Mack dealer expands with acquisition

Longtime Mack Trucks dealer Nextran Truck Centers has acquired Westfall-O’Dell Truck Sales, making the acquisition one of the largest by a Mack dealer in the past five years.

The acquisition adds three Mack locations to the Nextran footprint, bringing its total Mack facilities to 20.

Established in 1993, Nextran currently has locations in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. With the Westfall-O’Dell acquisition, Nextran, a full-service commercial vehicle dealership, adds locations in Grand Junction, Colorado; Kansas City, Kansas; and Kansas City, Missouri.

The acquisition is part of Nextran’s strategic growth plan, which saw two other acquisitions within the past three years, resulting in the addition of Mack locations in Fort Myers, Florida and Tallahassee, Florida.