Incident reinforces need for trucker background checks
<![CDATA[ An incident in Nevada has re-emphasized the important role that background checks and drug screening should play in the trucking industry. John Davis Trucking Co. is under scrutiny for a crash with an Amtrak train that left at least six dead. Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham told the AP that five passengers who were on the train’s manifest of more than 200 people remained unaccounted for after the crash. More than two dozen people were sought a day earlier, but Weener said some of them may have gotten off the train before the crash or walked away from the scene without checking with officials. “This is not quite like you are used to when you get on an airplane. They record exactly who gets on, and what seat they sit in,” he said. “On a train, you can get off without necessarily being tracked.” The truck driver, a conductor and four others on the train were killed in the wreck in which a semi-trailer truck slammed into two passenger cars 70 miles east of Reno. Not necessarily just drugs or alcohol, but fatigue, driver inattention,” Allen said. “Did he have a (citizen band radio)? Was he talking to his buddies behind him? If so, was he looking in the side-view mirror and not looking at the road ahead? I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.” Autopsies on the victims were expected within the next few days, with toxicology test results on the truck diver due a few days after that. What are the concerns? While the driver is not necessarily being blamed in this incident yet, what the situation does do is place further focus on just how important pre-employment screening and drug tests are in this industry. The company in this incident had been cited repeatedly by state authorities for crashes, unsafe driving and operating a truck with tires so bald the vehicle had to be taken off the road. If they are so careless when it comes to these issues, who’s to say that they are not equally relaxed when employing drivers? One significant emergence from this situation is the standard of the industry as a whole. A National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener told reporters Sunday night that it was difficult to say whether the company’s record was significant or atypical in the industry. If the former, then this is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed on a national level by the authorities. Whatever the outcome of this particular situation, it certainly makes us aware of the potential issues that may be present in the trucking industry – and perhaps even beyond. What about public transport drivers, taxi drivers and emergency service personnel? For any companies and authorities involved in transportation, it may well be time to take a closer look at the practices they use both in terms of recruitment and operations – in order to prevent more incidents like this one at the very least.]]>
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