The driver of a tractor-trailer involved in a head-on crash that killed two people has been declared an imminent hazard to public safety by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
New Mexico-licensed commercial driver Evaristo S. Mora may no longer operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. He was served the federal order July 3.
In the June 13 accident, in which Mora’s vehicle veered into oncoming traffic, the driver of the other tractor-trailer was killed and so was a passenger in Mora’s vehicle.
The collision happened just before 4 p.m. in an active work zone along U.S. 54 in Pratt County, Kan.
After the crash, the state of Kansas charged Mora with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. He also was cited for following too closely and for operating a commercial motor vehicle after being declared out of service for violations of federal hours-of-service regulations.
At about 10 a.m. the same day, Mora had been placed out of service for numerous safety deficiencies, including inoperative or defective brakes and dangerously worn tires. Federal safety regulations prohibit operating any vehicle placed out of service until all the safety violations have been repaired. Mora had repairs done on the tractor but not on the trailer.
FMCSA investigators used GPS data to reconstruct Mora’s trip, which began June 11 in El Paso, Texas. Investigators estimated Mora had been driving continuously for at least 38 of the 45 hours before the June 13 crash
Investigators also found Mora had either disabled or deactivated the electronic logging device in his truck during previous trips.
Failure to comply with the provisions of a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for equitable relief and punitive damages. Civil penalties of up to $1,811 may be assessed for each violation of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.
Mora also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.
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