On July 29, 2016, Billy R. Evans Harvesting Inc. was served a federal order, by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), to cease all interstate and intrastate operations after an investigation found the company to pose an imminent public safety hazard.
A passenger bus, operated by Billy R. Evans Harvesting Inc., was transporting agricultural workers on July 2, 2016 when it failed to stop at an intermittent red light. The bus collided with a semi-truck which had the right of way. The crash caused both vehicles to catch on fire and resulted in the death of the truck driver and four bus passengers, including a four-year-old child. Twenty-four passengers on the bus also received injuries.
The company which operates approximately 12 passenger buses, transporting agricultural workers, and six trucks, that haul produce, was subsequently investigated by the FMCSA and the Florida Highway Patrol. The investigation found the company to be in violation of multiple federal safety statutes and regulations including:
- Failure to comply with any driver qualification requirements. Those qualifications include ensuring that it’s drivers were properly licensed and physically qualified to operate a commercial vehicle.
- Failure to retain records of previous violations and involvement in crashes. For example, a bus driver for Billy R. Evans was involved in a similar accident on January 27, 2016 but the company possessed no knowledge or record of that crash.
- Failure to implement a random drug and alcohol testing program.
- Failure to inspect, repair, maintain and meet minimum safety standards. During the investigation, safety defects were discovered which included, lighting failures, improper vehicle markings, missing or inoperative emergency equipment, oil and gas leaks, exhaust discharge violations and unsecured passenger seats.
- Failure to ensure compliance with hours-of-service requirements to prevent fatigued operation by monitoring its drivers.
The imminent hazard out-of-service order to Billy R. Evans Harvesting further states that the company’s “operation of commercial motor vehicles and flagrant and fleet-wide disregard (for federal safety regulations) substantially increased the risk of serious injury of death to the motoring public.
Any violation of the federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in a penalty of up to $25,000. Operating without necessary authority may result in a fine of not less than $10,000 and operating without a USDOT number may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000. A criminal penalty including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment of up to one year may also be levied for violations of the order.
Aside from being issued an imminent hazard out-of-service order, Billy R. Evans Harvesting Inc. will inevitably face multiple lawsuits filed by the victims of the crash and their families, for medical bills as well as pain and suffering and loss of income. The families of those lives that were lost may also file wrongful death suits.
Any person that is injured as the result of a crash involving a truck, bus or any other commercial motor vehicle should seek the help of an attorney who is experienced in these complex cases. Truck and bus crashes require a detailed investigation into the safety records of the company, and the facts leading up to the crash, not only by the government but independently by your law firm. You need a law firm with the resources to investigate the case thoroughly, hiring a reconstruction expert if necessary.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has successfully represented many residents of Florida who were injured or lost someone in a commercial vehicle crash. If you are one of those individuals, call Dolman Law Today for a free evaluation of your case. There is no cost or obligation and all information is confidential. Call 727-451-6900.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
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Clearwater, FL 33765