Trucker in Chesapeake crash was on first unsupervised trip to U.S.

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 8/19/2013

A 29-year-old truck driver from Hungary operating on a temporary work permit from Canada was on his first unsupervised trip in the U.S. the day his truck crashed into a passenger car on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday. The June 19 crash was non-fatal.

Investigators say Gabor Lavasz hauled for Bulk Carries PEI Limited, based in Prince Edward Island, Canada. He was driving a 2010 International on June 19 in the eastbound lanes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis.

According to the report, Lavasz had turned his attention to his driver-side mirror because of flashing lights and activity behind him. When he resumed looking forward, he encountered slowed or stopped vehicles in the right lane ahead of him, the report states.

The truck struck a 2007 Chrysler, which then struck a 2014 Mazda. The Chrysler rode up on the concrete barrier ahead of the truck and then dropped 27 feet into the Chesapeake Bay below. The female driver of the Chrysler escaped the vehicle and swam to a bridge pier to await rescue. Neither the truck driver nor the driver of the Mazda were injured.

NTSB investigators said Lavasz had immigrated to Canada from Hungary on a temporary work permit, and had been employed with Bulk Carriers PEI Limited since April.

“This trip was the truck driver’s first time driving in the United States without being paired with a more experienced driver,” the NTSB stated. “He had made a delivery in Orange, Virginia, and at the time of the accident was en route to pick up his next load at a location in Maryland.”

According to public records kept by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Bulk Carriers PEI Limited employs 57 drivers and lists its operation as interstate. The company has undergone 124 inspections in the U.S. and has an out-of-service rate of 4 percent with no other reportable crashes.

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