Hester Inc., the trucking company from Alabama that caused a crash in Kentucky that killed 11 people, had received a deficient rating of 88.4 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in February.
The rating was based on an inspection of the company’s 30 drivers over a period of 30 months prior to the issuance of the safety score. The rating agency uses a scale of 1 t0 100, with 100 representing the lowest or worst “grade.”
The driver of the tractor-trailer rig involved in the Kentucky accident, was Kenneth Laymon, 45, of Jasper, Alabama. Laymon’s rig crossed the Interstate 65 median in central Kentucky on Friday, March 26, 2010 and hit a van.
Ten occupants of the van, Mennonites traveling to Iowa for a wedding, died, as did Laymon himself. Two young children survived. The specific cause of the incident remains under investigation.
A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, Peter Knudson said, “We’ll be examining their record, their accident to incident history, their safety culture, training program and fatigue management.”
The vice president of safety policy for the American Trucking Association in Arlington, Va. said Hester should not have been operating the rig based on the company’s safety score.
Such incidents, which inevitably raise the risk profiles for drivers of big rigs, elevate both insurance and product prices by elevating shipping costs. The tragic incident is a prime example of the cause and effect relationship between safety records, insurance, and total cost implications.