FMCSA shuts down driver after deadly school bus collision

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, April 1, 2024:

Texas-based concrete pumper driver shut down by FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has effectively shut down Texas-licensed commercial driver Jerry Hernandez and ordered him to immediately cease operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce.

On March 22, Hernandez was operating a large concrete pumping truck for FJM Concrete Pumping LLC when he crossed the center line and hit an oncoming school bus transporting pre-K students. As a result of the crash, the school bus flipped over and a 5-year-old child was killed, the 33-year-old driver of a car behind the bus was killed, and dozens of passengers were injured.

Following the crash, Hernandez admitted to the investigating law enforcement officers that he had smoked marijuana the night before the crash and had used cocaine in the early morning hours before the crash. 

According to the Imminent Hazard order, in addition to the recent crash, Hernandez also has “a history of using controlled substances while being employed as a professional CMV driver.” FMCSA said he had been prohibited from operating CMVs three times for drug use, and he was currently prohibited from operating CMVs at the time of the crash based on an April 2023 positive test that revealed he had been using cocaine. Hernandez is listed as “prohibited” in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and FMCSA is working with the state of Texas to disqualify his CDL. 

Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal Imminent Hazard Disqualification Order may result in civil penalties of up to $6,974. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.

[Related: Truck driver shut down after train-derailing crash in Tennessee]

Nat-gas Mack LR trucks recalled

Mack Trucks is recalling approximately 106 natural gas-powered 2024-’25 Mack LR trucks due to a missing fuse, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Mack said the methane detector in the affected units may be inoperable because of the missing fuse. An inoperative methane detector can fail to detect a gas leak, increasing the risk of a fire or injury, according to the recall.

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Dealers will install a fuse, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed May 24. Owners can contact Mack customer service at 800-866-1177 with recall number SC0461. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-232.

Fuel-fraud risk mitigation: New features from RoadFlex

RoadFlex is a fleet expense management and fuel card provider that recently announced two new features for its multi-layered security platform to create more proactive fuel fraud mitigation.

RoadFlex’s fuel risk management solution uses vehicle location data and mobile driver authentication to ensure the right person is fueling the right vehicle at all times. A newly launched Vehicle Fuel Analysis program now also sifts through transaction data to create virtual vehicle spending profiles based on a specific tractor’s usage. Fleet transactions are contextualized to predict vehicle needs and spending, to understand the maximum risk of transactions for a specific vehicle and driver. For example, an alert is triggered and the fleet manager is notified if a vehicle was fueled the day before and returns to the pump the next day for 25 gallons with only 50 miles run on the odometer.

In addition, a new Fuel Risk Analysis Reporting feature monitors fuel risk and blocks averse events from even occurring, said Rush Akin, RoadFlex’s chief revenue officer, during a press conference at the Truckload Carriers Association's Truckload 2024 convention in Nashville, Tenn. “Now, with our new features, we’ll let you know who and where it could have happened, so that you pay more attention in the future in places that tend to be overlooked for fraud,” he said.

Akin added that RoadFlex’s platform can nearly eliminate fuel fraud and fuel loss entirely. “Fraud can slip through the cracks and go undetected,” he said. “Most fleet operators assume 5 to 10 percent of their fuel spend is fraudulent, and that has been in their budget year after year. From a fuel risk management perspective, we are telling them they don’t have to spend $1 million in fuel fraud when they could be spending that money in a better way.”

A. Duie Pyle celebrates 100th anniversary

A. Duie Pyle, a family-owned and operated provider of asset- and non-asset-based supply chain solutions, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

This significant milestone marks a century of service, innovation and perseverance in the logistics and transportation industry, the company said. Founded on the principles of hard work, integrity and a commitment to customer satisfaction, Pyle has grown from a humble beginning with just one used truck into a large entity in the supply chain. 

The company’s asset-based business boasts more than 1,700 trucks, nearly 3,000 trailers and more than 2,000 drivers, according to Overdrive sister publication CCJ’s Top 250 list of for-hire carriers. Pyle also has a large brokerage operation.

Over the decades, Pyle has navigated through numerous economic cycles and technological changes, always emerging stronger and more committed to its core values. From its early days of hauling goods for local businesses in Chester County, Pennsylvania, to becoming a comprehensive logistics provider with a vast network across the Northeastern United States, Pyle's journey is a testament to the vision and perseverance of its founders, Alexander Duie and Mary Ellen Pyle, and the generations that followed. 

In celebration of its centennial year, Pyle is reflecting on its rich history while looking forward to the future with innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of its customers. The company credits its success to its dedicated employees, loyal customers, long-term vendors and the guiding principles that have remained constant throughout its history. 

"Reaching the 100-year milestone is humbling for all of us at A. Duie Pyle. It's a testament to the resilience, hard work and stewardship that runs deep in our company's culture,” said Peter Latta, chairman and CEO of Pyle, reflecting on this landmark achievement. “As we celebrate, we also look ahead to the future with excitement for the opportunities and challenges it holds. We remain committed to delivering exceptional service and solutions to our customers, driven by our core values and the incredible team we call the Pyle People." 

The company has planned a series of events throughout the year to commemorate its 100th anniversary, including customer appreciation activities, employee recognition events and community service projects, all designed to celebrate the past and inspire the future.

Finally, a cologne for truckers: PFJ's 'nostalgia in a bottle'

Pilot Flying J's Diesel Fuel colognePilot Flying J's Diesel Fuel cologne, "Available while supplies last. Except there are no supplies because this is a joke."Pilot Flying J announced April 1 the brand’s first signature fragrance with the launch of Diesel Fuel, an eau de parfum. For those who are drawn to the distinct scent of fuel, this diesel-forward fragrance will fast track imaginations to setting out on the open road with a tank full of fuel and a world full of possibilities, the company said.

The limited-time scent is encased in a crimson-colored, iconic diesel pump-style glass bottle. Each spritz captures the unmistakable aroma of diesel fuel, a smell beloved by connoisseurs of heavy-duty trucks, fast cars and recreational vehicles.

“We captured nostalgia in a bottle,” said Adrienne Ingoldt, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Pilot Flying J. “With one whiff of Diesel Fuel cologne, professional drivers and travelers alike are instantly transported back to their most fond memories on the road.”

Diesel Fuel eau de parfum embodies the sweet, yet potent fumes of benzene and is formulated for all-day wear. Pilot Flying J hopes the new fragrance will spark joy among driving fans and is exploring additional scents that are synonymous with life on the highway.

“Whether it be at the pump or in-store, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to delight our guests, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of bringing this complex scent to market,” Ingoldt added.

Pilot Flying J will launch the limited-time product at select participating locations on April 1 (though the company notes it's not for sale, as this is an April Fool's Day joke).