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NTSB: Truck in 7-person fatality had improper authority



THOREAU, N. M. — The tractor-trailer involved in a fatal accident near here August 30 was operating outside its granted authority, according to federal records.

Newsal Transportation Safety Board Thursday released a preliminary accident report saying that a sudden air loss in a left front tire of a tractor-trailer caused the big rig to cross the median on Interstate 40 and strike a Greyhound Lines bus on August 30, killing the bus driver and six passengers.

In addition, one of the twin children of a woman who went into premature labor as a result of the accident died September 9, the NTSB said.

The NTSB said about 12:30 p.m. on August 30, the 2016 Freightliner in combination with a 2017 Utility refrigerated trailer, was traveling east on I-40 when the driver lost control of the vehicle after the sudden air loss, entered a 33-foot-wide depressed earthen median, jackknifed, and continued into the westbound lane, striking the bus carrying 48 passengers and the driver.

The truck, operated by Jag Transportation of Fresno, California, was carrying produce to Memphis, Tennessee, but according to federal records, Jag Transportation had only intrastate authority, meaning it could transport freight only inside the borders of California.

Many states require that their motor carriers who operate exclusively within that state obtain a USDOT number.  The federal government does not require intrastate carriers to obtain USDOT registration or authority — with the exception of hazmat carriers; all hazmat carriers, intrastate included, are subject to federal safety regulations.

These intrastate carriers generally are subject to regulatory oversight by the state.  (There are certain federal regulations that may apply to intrastate carriers; for example, a CDL is required by the federal government to operate a vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds, or when operating a vehicle transporting 16 or more passengers. If a CDL is required to operate the vehicle, then federal drug-and-alcohol testing regulations also apply.)

The NTSB said after the impact, the trailer separated from the tractor and came to rest in the westbound lane and center median on its right side, spilling its load onto the roadway.

After rolling onto its roof, the tractor came to rest in the median just off the westbound lanes.

The driver of the truck received only minor injuries, the NTSB said.

NTSB inspectors conducted detailed post-crash inspections and no defects were found.

The NTSB said the tire carcass from the left steer axle was shipped to the NTSB laboratory for additional examination.

Investigators are also evaluating maintenance records for the truck and evaluating motor carrier operations and driver performance related to the crash.

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Big rig loaded with mail crashes in Little Rock; tractor ends up on guard rail




Part of a tractor hangs over the Interstate 440 railing after the driver couldn’t decide which ramp to take and crashed. (Courtesy: ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The old saying about those who deliver the mail goes something like this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

But Sunday some indecision did.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation posted on its social media site that the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying a load of mail couldn’t decide which ramp to take off Interstate 440 Terminal Interchange with Interstate 30 and ended up striking the guard rail.

The tractor separated from the trailer and wound up hanging partially over the bridge railing.

Officials said one of the tractor’s fuel tanks became dislodged and fell onto Interstate 30 below causing an explosion and fire.

The driver was taken to a hospital, but her condition is unknown.

Traffic was delayed on both I-30 and I-440 which is the main thoroughfare between Little Rock and the Bill and Hillary Clinton Newsal Airport.



Colorado DOT kicks off project to install media cable barriers on I-25




DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation kicked off a seven-month project in June that aims to install new median cable barriers along Interstate 25 between Pueblo and Colorado Springs as a safety measure to prevent median crossover crashes.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Colorado agency noted in a June 14 statement that it is using a “multi-phased approach” based on vehicle crash history and traffic volumes to specifically locate the new cable median barriers – part of its Whole System – Whole Safety initiative that takes a systematic approach to safety that includes driving behaviors, the built environment, and operations.

“Improving the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for travelers is our main goal,” Shoshana Lew, executive director of the Colorado DOT, said in a statement. “The statewide program’s whole system approach is unique in how it brings together all areas of the driving experience, resulting in improved and enhanced safety for motorists.”

The $3.5 million project – expected to be completed by December – will remove any existing barrier structures and replace it with media cable barrier along with “added offset” from the travel lane and flattened median side slopes.

That will continue to eliminate vehicle cross-over crashes, the agency noted, while additionally reducing nuisance hits as the northbound cable barrier can be removed. The net effect will allow better maintenance access, reduced maintenance costs, better traffic flow, and further enhancing safety, Colorado DOT said.

A 68-page study wrapped up last year by the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University determined that cable median barriers “significantly” reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities and injuries, though they do lead to an increase in “property-damage only” crashes, according to the collected data examined by the school’s researchers.

That study found that out of the 6,718 median-related crashes it examined over a nine-year period stretching from 2007 to 2015, cable media barrier safety devices reduced fatalities, incapacitating injuries, and non-incapacitating injuries by 68.7, 36.8, and 23.9 percent, respectively.



Love’s opens new facilities in Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania




The Hampshire, Illinois, location is located at 201 Love’s Crossing near Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 20. (Courtesy: LOVE’S TRAVEL STOPS)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Love’s Travel Stops is now serving customers in three new locations — Bridgeport Charter Township, Michigan; Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania; and Hampshire, Illinois.

The Bridgeport Charter Township location at 6560 Dixie Highway (near Interstate 75 and Exit 144) adds 80 new jobs to Saginaw County and 87 truck parking spaces.

The Slippery Rock stop off Exit 105 and I-79, brings 40 jobs and 48 truck parking spaces.

The third location in Hampshire at 201 Love’s Crossing (near Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 20), has 177 truck parking spaces and brings 80 jobs.

In total, Love’s is adding 312 truck parking spaces for professional drivers.

“These three locations place us in the perfect spots to serve more customers,” said Tom Love, executive chairman and founder of Love’s. “All are along major interstates that are popular for trade routes and leisure travel. We’re proud to add truck parking in areas where our customers need it.”

The travel stops are open 24/7 and offer many amenities.

Bridgeport, Michigan

More than 12,000 square feet of space, Hardee’s restaurant, 87 truck parking spaces, 87 car parking spaces, eight diesel bays, Speedco location on-site, four RV parking spaces, eight showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

Hampshire, Illinois

More than 10,000 square feet of space, Arby’s restaurant, 177 truck parking spaces, 53 car parking spaces, nine diesel bays, Speedco location on-site, three RV parking spaces, seven showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

More than 10,000 square feet of space, Subway restaurant, 48 truck parking spaces, 60 car parking spaces, seven diesel bays, Love’s Truck Tire Care center, two RV parking spaces, six showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

In honor of the grand opening, Love’s will host ribbon cuttings and donate $2,000 to the Bridgeport Historical Society, Northern Butler County Feed My Sheep Food Cupboard in Slippery Rock and Hampshire High School.








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