Carrier Involved in Fatal Airbag Explosion Forced to Shut Down, May Face Criminal Chargesby Jana Ritter - Published: 10/07/2016
U.S. safety regulators have ordered the trucking company involved in the Takata airbag explosion that killed a woman in August to cease operations and shut down. The company, Industrial Transit, has been labeled an “imminent hazard” after a post accident investigation revealed it violated several safety laws and regulations.
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On August 22, the Industrial Transit truck was transporting the Takata air-bag components in Maverick County, Texas, when the driver approached a curve at an unsafe speed and veered off the roadway, striking a culvert and rolling over. The truck immediately caught fire and the air-bag components exploded, which killed a woman in her nearby home and caused damage to several other houses in the area. The truck drivers were injured, along with a couple in a nearby vehicle.
On Friday, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that Industrial Transit Inc. had not only violated enough regulations to be shut down but they may also be facing fines and criminal prosecution. According to the agency’s findings, the truck drivers hadn’t received training in hazardous materials or in-depth security training, both which are required to transport the components safely. The FMCSA also alleged the trucking company failed to ensure their drivers were properly licensed or even physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. In fact, two drivers have been driving for the company within the past two-and-a-half months without a valid commercial driver’s license. The agency also says that company drivers weren’t sufficiently tested for alcohol and drug use throughout their time on the job and one driver who even refused to submit to a random test was allowed to continue operating a truck hauling explosive hazardous materials. They also said Industrial Transit failed to monitor drivers for fatigue and their vehicles weren’t properly inspected or maintained.
The agency said they discussed these matters with Industrial Transit’s chief executive officer and the CEO explained he simply wasn’t aware of the rules as he acquired the business from his parents and assumed the company already followed necessary rules.
Takata Corp. is already involved in one of the largest automotive recalls in US history for rupture prone air bags causing a fatalities and injuries. Takata says it hasn’t used the trucking company since the August crash and is continuing to co-operate in the investigation.