What is also troubling is that officials at Total Transportation could not explain why the company had hired him, given his past history.
“The company’s safety director said that he didn’t have a good excuse for why they hired him,” said one of the attorneys representing plaintiffs in a wrongful death class action lawsuit against the trucking company. “But I believe I know why they hired him. They were trying to fill as many trucks with as many drivers, to grow this company as rapidly as possible.”
Total Transportation, based in Mississippi, employs more than 900 drivers and owns 740 vehicles.
According to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) safety records, the trucking company was cited for 266 safety violations from 2013 to 2015, which included 107 citations for speeding, 45 violations for failure to obey a traffic control device, nine violations for driving while using a mobile phone, and five violations for tailgating.
Even scarier, the USDOT report revealed that Total Transportation’s safety record was in the bottom 10 percent, making the company eligible for direct intervention and governmental inspection.
Records also showed that drivers in Total Transportation trucks had been involved in 85 other accidents from 2013 to 2015, and that four drivers received citations as a result of those crashes.
Mechanical issues were also a problem, as the company had 600 maintenance violations in that same period of time.
“Shocking. This company should have been severely curtailed in their operations by the authorities,” added the lawyer representing plaintiffs in the class action suit.
When interviewed after the accident, John Stomps CEO of Total Transportation said that his company was cooperating with the investigation, but declined to answer any questions about its safety record.
Total Transportation did have to answer questions about the accident in court, however, and in May 2016, the company settled with plaintiffs for nearly $80 million.