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Texas carrier declared imminent hazard after fatal crash, violations

FMCSA also bars Mexico-licensed driver from interstate commerce in US

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared 4 Life Transport Corp. an imminent hazard. In a separate case, the FMCSA has also barred Mexico-licensed truck driver Rafael Arizaga-Tapia from operating in the U.S. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared a Houston-area carrier an imminent hazard, citing numerous violations and a crash in which one of the company’s drivers was killed.

4 Life Transport Corp. was issued a federal out-of-service order on Feb. 11 forbidding the company to operate intrastate or interstate.

A driver for 4 Life Transport crashed in Utah and was killed on Feb. 7. Investigators discovered  the driver killed and the commercial motor vehicle he was operating were previously associated with Adversity Transport, a carrier that was issued a federal out-of-service order on Jan. 25.

“Safety is FMCSA’s top priority, and there is never a more urgent task for the agency than removing an imminent hazard motor carrier such as 4 Life from our nation’s roadways,” Robin Hutcheson, acting FMCSA administrator, said in a statement.

4 Life Transport is based in New Caney, Texas, just northeast of Houston. The carrier is listed as having two trucks and two drivers, according to the FMCSA. It’s not clear what type of freight the carrier hauled.

4 Life Transport’s vehicle out-of-service rate is 100%, compared to a national average of 21%, the FMCSA said. The carrier’s driver out-of-service rate is 67%, compared to a national average of 6%.

“4 Life Transport fails to ensure its vehicles are safe, and multiple roadside inspections revealed vehicle maintenance problems including unsafe tires,” the FMCSA said in a release. “The company also fails to ensure its drivers are qualified and drive safely — its drivers have been cited for speeding and driving with a suspended license — and it fails to ensure its drivers comply with hours-of-service limits and recording requirements.”

Truck driver had ‘blatant and egregious violations’

Unrelated to the 4 Life Transport order, the FMCSA has barred Mexico-licensed truck driver Rafael Arizaga-Tapia, also known as Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza, from operating in interstate commerce in the U.S. The order was issued on Feb. 4. 

Arizaga-Tapia tested positive for controlled substances on June 24, 2021, and was prohibited from operating any commercial vehicles. At the time of the positive test, Arizaga-Tapia had a valid commercial license from Mexico (LF) and a valid Washington driver’s license.

FMCSA’s review of Arizaga-Tapia’s driver history for his LF and Washington driver’s license revealed prior offenses for speeding, driving under the influence and refused tests.

After the positive test, Arizaga-Tapia obtained an LF under the name Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza, according to FMCSA. It is an FMCSA violation for a commercial driver to have more than one driver’s license.  

On Nov. 12, 2021, Arizaga-Tapia, using the name and LF of Nibardo Andrade-Mendoza, was operating a commercial vehicle in Washington when he crashed through a guardrail and fell into a ravine. Arizaga-Tapia was in possession of opened and unopened beer cans and subsequent blood tests showed a measurable alcohol concentration in his system, according to reports.

“Arizaga-Tapia’s blatant and egregious violations and ongoing and repeated disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public,” the FMCSA said in a statement.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]