The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered a Crossville, Tenn.-based trucking company, Rock City Stone Co. to immediately cease all transportation. Rock City Stone Co. operates as RC Stone and Farms USDOT No. 3035947.
The firm was found to be illegally transporting explosives and a “placardable quantity of hazardous material (HM) after a federal investigation found the company to pose an imminent hazard to public safety.
Served Federal Order
RC Stone and Farms was served the federal order last year. During the year an RC Stone and Farms vehicle, traveling along Highway 28 in Sequatchie County, Tennessee, was subjected to an unannounced roadside safety inspection by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Finding that the pickup truck was transporting explosives in violation of numerous federal hazardous materials (HMRs) regulations as well as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), the vehicle and the driver were immediately placed out-of-service.
IMMINENT HAZARD OPERATIONS OUT-OF-SERVICE ORDERrock-city-stone-company-final-ih-order-apr-2018
Explosives Haphazardly Place in Truck
Among the cargo that was haphazardly placed and unsecured found in the truck included: numerous cases of Class 1 explosives, including ammonium nitrate-fuel oil mixture; electric detonators; blasting caps; and detonating cord. The Class 1 explosives were piled in the truck bed next to metal objects, including pipes, buckets and work tools, and inside a bent metal toolbox.
The detonators and detonating cord located in the cab of the pickup were improperly packaged in a cardboard box or not labeled, according to federal regulators. It is illegal to transport detonators on the same vehicle as explosive material – unless the detonators are packed in a USDOT specification container or package.
Tennessee Highway Patrol investigators found that RC Stone and Farm had not prepared hazardous materials (HM) shipping papers, had not placed HM placards on the vehicle, and had not prepared emergency response information to be used in the mitigation of a hazardous materials incident — all violations of federal safety regulations.
No Commercial License
The driver of the RC Stone and Farm vehicle did not possess a commercial driver’s license, an HM endorsement or a medical certificate.
FMCSA investigators further found RC Stone and Farm in violation of HMRs and FMCSRs “… so widespread as to demonstrate a continuing and flagrant disregard for compliance …and a management philosophy indifferent to motor carrier safety.”
Since Jan. 1, 2018, RC Stone and Farm’s records show the company has transported hazardous materials to about 44 blasting sites in Tennessee — without proper placarding or preparation of shipping papers. The company operated without an assessment of transportation security risks and without a transportation security plan, including preparation of an HM route plan in accordance with federal safety regulations, according to regulators.
Medically Unqualified Driver
The company, according to its own admission, used a commercially unlicensed and medically unqualified driver. FMCSA investigators found RC Stone and Farm had dispatched a driver with HM loads without the federally required specialized training covering safety and security matters, such as attendance of vehicles, parking, smoking, routing and incident reporting. Federal investigators found that the trucking company did not have an alcohol or controlled substances testing program as required by U.S. statute.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that the company’s “complete and utter lack of compliance with HM and federal safety regulations, including when transporting explosives.…substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for its drivers and the motoring public, if not discontinued immediately.”
RC Stone and Farm may be assessed civil penalties of up to $25,705 for each violation of the out-of-service order. The carrier may also be assessed civil penalties of up to $14,502 for operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce without necessary USDOT registration.
If violations are determined to be willful, criminal penalties may be imposed, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for a term not to exceed one year.
FMCSA is also considering civil penalties for the safety violations discovered during the investigation and may refer the matter for criminal prosecution.
(from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration)