FMCSA Puts the Brakes on Two SC Carriers and One Owner Operator

Today, the FMCSA announced it has put the brakes on two South Carolina carriers and one owner-operator, calling the three an “imminent hazard to the public safety.”

CER Trucking is owned by Clarence Edward Risher.  The FMCSA issued a federal shut-down order to CRT on December 17, 2013.  On December 20, 2013, the FMCSA served a federal shut-down order to Edward Risher Trucking and Risher’s son, Clarence Edward Risher Jr.

The carriers transported refrigerated goods and general freight throughout the southeastern U.S.

The FMCSA began investigating the companies after a November 27, 2013 incident. On that day, Clarence Edward Risher Jr., who was driving for this father’s company, CER Trucking, was operating a tractor-trailer on Virginia State Route 5 in Henrico County, when he lost control of the truck, crossed the center lane and hit and killed the driver of a passenger vehicle.

“On November 27, 2013, a CER Trucking driver operating a 2003 Peterbilt truck tractor1 on Route 5 in Henrico County, Virginia attempted to stop for a vehicle ahead of him that was slowing down. The CER Trucking driver was not able to stop the 2003 Peterbilt and instead crossed over the double yellow lines and struck a 2002 Ford Mustang, causing the death of the driver of the passenger vehicle. Following the collision, the CER Trucking driver moved the 2003 Peterbilt and began correcting and updating his logbook which was neither factually correct nor current at the time of the accident,” the FMCSA stated.

At the time of the crash, Risher Jr. was driving on a revoked license. Police officers at the scene also found an open container of alcohol and an “unknown powdery substance and glass-like material believed to be methamphetamine, one piece of aluminum foil folded multiple times with an unknown type of residue and one cigarette butt, and a white power suspected to be cocaine.”

“Virginia State Police investigating the crash have charged Risher Jr., with driving without a driver’s license, reckless driving, operating a commercial motor vehicle while disqualified, possession of alcohol and other violations,” FMCSA stated.

“There is no higher priority than safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Truck and bus companies and commercial drivers who willfully disregard safety regulations will not be allowed to operate on our highways and roads.”

Following the crash, the FMCSA began investigating CER Trucking.  Investigators found that the carrier failed to ensure that its drivers were qualified to operate CMVs. Additionally, investigators found another CER driver had been convicted of marijuana possession while on duty– invalidating the driver’s CDL.  Investigators also found that a third driver was not medically certified to operate a CMV.

In addition, investigators found that CER Trucking that CER Trucking failed to monitor driver hours and controlled substance and alcohol testing.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order for Risher Jr., is based upon his multiple violations of federal safety regulations. As sole proprietor of Edward Risher Trucking, the imminent hazard conditions outlined in the federal order to Risher Jr., as a commercial driver, extend to the operations of the company he owns.

A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order for CER Trucking can be viewed atwww.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/CERTrucking.pdf

A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order for Edward Risher Trucking can be viewed atwww.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2013/EdwardRisherTrucking.pdf

“FMCSA is working shoulder-to-shoulder with our state and local law partners to vigorously enforce commercial vehicle safety regulations,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “It is unacceptable for a truck or bus company, or any of its drivers, to disregard the law and put the safety of every highway traveler at risk.”