Driver issuesNewsTrucking Regulation

Driver, company may face FMCSA penalties after cyclist deaths

Five killed after being struck by Arizona driver later found to be under influence of drugs

Following the deaths of five people, an Arizona-licensed driver and his company may be subject to civil penalties brought by federal regulators for violating safety regulations, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

FMCSA served Jordan Barson with a federal order last Wednesday, declaring Barson “to be an imminent hazard to public safety” and has ordered him not to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce.

Barson holds a commercial driver’s license and is employed by RoadRunner Transport AZ Inc. in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. While operating his truck on U.S. Highway 95 in Clark County, Nevada, on Dec. 10, he struck seven bicyclists and their escort vehicle from the rear, the FMCSA affirmed. Five bicyclists were pronounced dead at the scene. Another bicyclist and the driver of the escort vehicle “received incapacitating injuries” and were transported to the hospital, according to the agency.

Barson was tested by Nevada Highway Patrol officers for controlled substances and was found positive for amphetamine, according to FMCSA. He also tested positive for methamphetamine “at a level almost ten times the lawful amount permitted by Nevada state law,” the agency stated. 

He was charged with five counts of Driving Under the Influence Resulting in Death, one count of Driving Under the Influence Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm, five counts of Reckless Driving Resulting in Death and one count of Reckless Driving Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm.

A subsequent investigation found that neither the carrier nor Barson maintained drivers’ records-of-duty status as required by federal regulations. RoadRunner Transport AZ is listed in the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records system as having three power units and three drivers with a “not authorized” operating status. The company is not affiliated with Roadrunner Transportation Services, a Roadrunner official confirmed to FreightWaves.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Barson’s “blatant violations of the [federal safety regulations] and ongoing and repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and [the] motoring public,” according to the agency.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.