Ala. truck firm gets federal review in fatal crash

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - An Alabama trucking firm will undergo a
federal compliance review after one of its drivers was involved in
a head-on crash that killed 11 people in Kentucky, officials said
Thursday.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees
the trucking industry, will conduct the review of Hester Inc. of
Fayette, Ala., because of the company's safety rating and the March
26 wreck near Munfordville, the agency said.
"Commercial motor carriers are placed out-of-service if they
are found to be unfit during a compliance review," agency
spokeswoman Candice Tolliver said.
She said the agency normally conducts a full compliance review
if a carrier is found deficient in at least three inspection areas;
if it is deficient in two areas when one of those involves crashes;
or if the carrier has a score of 95 or above in the category of
crashes.
The agency gave Hester Inc. a driver safety evaluation area of
88.4 in February, based on inspections of the company's 30 drivers
during the past 30 months. The agency uses a scale of 1 to 100,
with 100 being the worst score. The company was not considered
deficient in other areas, so the agency had not targeted it for a
compliance review.
The driver of the Hester tractor-trailer, 45-year-old Kenneth
Laymon of Jasper, Ala., crossed the median of Interstate 65 in
central Kentucky on Friday and slammed into a van, killing 10
people and himself, Kentucky State Police said. The others who died
were Mennonites traveling to a wedding in Iowa. Two young children
survived the crash.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but NTSB
investigators have completed an on-scene probe of the wreck.
Scott Hester, the owner of the trucking company, declined
comment.
Federal records show the agency has conducted 194 driver
inspections on Hester drivers in the past 30 months. Those
inspections resulted in 21 drivers being taken out of service for
log book violations, exceeding the 11-hour driving limit or the
14-hour on duty limit.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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