Hazardous Materials Transport

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Ronald E. Tomasetti, CDS, CDT ::::

Case Synopsis: A tanker delivering airplane fuel at a local airport crashed into an electric baggage cart when the driver made a sudden turn to avoid a worker loading baggage onto the cart.  The worker was severely injured when the cart overturned on him.  The tanker driver, who was in the US on a work VISA from Argentina, was operating the commercial motor vehicle which was placard (flammable) without a Commercial Driver License (CDL).  The employer, ABC Fuel Enterprise, Inc, did not have the vehicle licensed (displaying a plate).  The injured worker brought suit claiming the driver was not qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle and the employer was negligent for hiring him.

Expert Analysis: A site inspection was performed, and employer records and deposition testimony were reviewed.  Expert analysis demonstrated that the collision occurred on private property.  The employer would not be considered a motor carrier for either interstate commerce or intrastate commerce; therefore, not subject to FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations).  The employer did have a personnel file, but was not required to have a driver qualification file in accordance with FMCSRs.  The tanker did not travel on or over any public roadway, the vehicle did not have to be licensed (displaying a license plate) however, the vehicle was registered.  The driver did not need a CDL, nor comply with Federal regulations concerning qualifications of drivers, including a background check of former employers. 

Result: Case settled in favor of the defense.

 

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