The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered Tennessee-based trucking company Rock Stone Company, also known as RC Stone & Farms, to cease all transportation of explosives and hazardous materials after it was found to pose an imminent hazard to public safety.
In March, an RC Stone & Farms truck was subjected to an unannounced roadside inspection by the Tennessee Highway Patrol where it was discovered that the pickup truck was transporting explosives in violation of federal hazardous materials regulations as well as Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. The truck and driver were immediately placed out of service.
Haphazardly placed in the bed of the truck were a number of Class 1 explosives including ammonium nitrate-fuel oil mixture, electric detonators, blasting caps, and detonating cord. These explosive materials were stored in a bent metal toolbox and placed next to metal objects such as pipes, buckets and tools. The detonators and detonation cord were improperly stored in an unmarked cardboard box.
Regulations require detonators and explosive materials to be transported separately unless the detonators are packaged in a U.S. Department of Transportation specification container or package.
RC Stone & Farm had not prepared hazardous materials shipping papers or placed HM placards on the vehicle. It also failed to prepare emergency response information to be used in the case of an incident. On top of all of that, the driver didn’t have a commercial driver’s license, hazardous materials endorsement, or medical certificate.
FMCSA investigators further found RC Stone & Farm in violation of HMRs and FMCSRs “so widespread as to demonstrate a continuing and flagrant disregard for compliance and a management philosophy indifferent to motor carrier safety.”
It was discovered that the company had been transporting explosive materials to 44 blasting sites around Tennessee since Jan. 1, 2018, all without the proper placards or shipping papers.
RC Stone and Farm may be assessed civil penalties of up to $25,705 for each violation of the out-of-service order. The carrier may also be assessed civil penalties of up to $14,502 for operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce without necessary DOT registration. If violations are determined to be willful, criminal penalties may be imposed, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for a term not to exceed one year.
FMCSA is also considering civil penalties for the safety violations discovered during the investigation and may refer this matter for criminal prosecution.