BOSTON (CBS) – An industry expert says the signs were all there before the tragic crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire last weekend. Westfield Transport was having a hard time staying in compliance with federal regulations.
“A lot of violations that should not be there,” said transportation safety consultant Joseph Mokrisky, who’s studied big rig safety for decades. He pored through Westfield Transport’s history of violations with WBZ. Records show Massachusetts State Police pulled over and inspected the company’s trucks 45 times in the last year-and-a-half, finding 65 violations. “License issues, equipment issues, brakes, tires, when you put all that together, that throws up a big red flag,” said Mokrisky.
In March of 2018, a driver was cited for drug possession. Three days later, a driver in the same truck was written up for drug possession again. Drivers were cited for driving without a commercial driver’s license three times, for lane violations twice, for speeding twice, and also twice for falsifying logs showing how long they’d been on the road.
Mokrisky worked with the infamous Fung Wah Chinatown bus company back in 2013, when the federal government ultimately shut it down for violations. He said Westfield Transport’s record is even worse. “Fung Wah didn’t have near the safety violations that this company has.”
Federal records do not show whether the driver involved in Friday’s accident, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, was ever stopped while driving for Westfield Transport specifically. He does have a history of operating under the influence. “If there were issues with DUIs on a particular driver in the past, the carrier should have known that before they even considered them for employment,” he said.
Mokrisky said federal regulators have to prioritize because of the size of their workload with so many companies to check up on. A spokesperson for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration told WBZ the agency will decide what sanctions, if any, Westfield Transport will face, when it’s done with its investigation.