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Trucking Violations on the Rise in Texas

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Jarod Cassidy3 years ago

Safety data suggests that many trucking firms are putting profit before safety as they attempt to maximize profits in Texas’ recent oil and gas boom; however, it is the tragic story’s of lost loved ones that illustrate the repercussions of these actions.

The Story of Vilma Marenco

“I called her, and called her, and called her, but she never answered – so I returned home and started looking for her. And the accident happened nearby, and I heard it, but I didn’t know she was involved in it.” – Guillermo Gomez as published by Houston Public Media

According to Houston Public Media, Vilma Marenco was returning home from work on April 22 when she was fatally struck by an 18-wheeler that had run a red light at the intersection of Old Beaumont Highway and Pineland Drive – she was less than a mile from her home when the collision occurred.

Marenco’s husband, Guillermo Gomez, had been trying to reach Marenco on her cell phone when he heard the fatal collision. It was not until hours later that Gomez learned of his wife’s death.

During their investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety found that the truck that killed Marenco should have never been on the road to begin with. The company that owned the truck, R&F Quality Transportation of Houston, Texas, had been ordered to cease operations the previous December due to a series of violations, including cracked frames and a driver smoking marijuana while driving – R&F had ignored the order.

The Marenco-Gomez family has sense filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Reports of Violations Not Rare Enough

Unfortunately, Vilma Marenco’s story is not unique. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states that motor vehicle fatality rate for the oil and gas extraction industry is 8.5 times higher than private industry as a whole.

Sheriff Larry Busby of Live Oak County, an area heavily affected by the Eagle Ford Shale boom, says truck traffic in his jurisdiction is the most dangerous he’s seen in his 33 years as sheriff. Much of this is due to failures by trucking companies to properly adhere to safety regulations.

Roughly 30 percent of commercial vehicles pulled over in Texas for special “road truck” inspections failed the inspections and were pulled out of service. By comparison, the national average for failed inspections is 20 percent.


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