CCJ Daily Dispatch, July 24: FMCSA shuts down driver after fatal crash, subsequent failed drug test

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Updated Jul 27, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, July 24, 2020:

FMCSA declares Ohio-based driver ‘imminent hazard’ following fatal crash, positive drug test
Ohio-based truck driver Cory Robert Withrow has been effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration following a crash that killed four children and a subsequent positive drug test.

FMCSA says Withrow was driving along I-70 in Indiana “at speeds exceeding the posted speed limit” when he hit a line of vehicles slowed or stopped in a construction zone. Four minor children, siblings, who were in one of the vehicles, were killed.

The agency adds Withrow admitted at the scene that before the crash that he was distracted by looking at his phone. He also subsequently tested positive for controlled substances. Specifically, he tested positive for amphetamines, MDMA and cannabis.

Withrow was charged by the state of Indiana with four counts of reckless homicide, four counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and one count of causing catastrophic injury when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Drivewyze bypass service expanded in Alberta, Canada
Drivewyze announced Thursday its weigh station bypass opportunities are being expanded in Alberta, Canada.

The province, in partnership with Drivewyze, had been offering trucking companies bypass services for several years, but enrollment had been limited to members of the Alberta Partners in Compliance (PIC) program.

Alberta has now expanded the bypass program eligibility to include all motor carriers that meet designated Alberta Transportation Fitness Rating requirements, removing the Alberta PIC requirement to subscribe to the Drivewyze PreClear service in the province.

PreClear offers bypass opportunities at all of Alberta’s 57 fixed and mobile inspection sites. For Alberta-based carriers travelling into the United States, Drivewyze offers an additional U.S. subscription package, which provides bypasses at more than 750 locations, in 45 states.

Nikola breaks ground on new Arizona facility
Nikola Corporation broke ground Thursday on its new 1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, off U.S. Highway 87.

The facility will initially produce the Nikola Tre and Nikola Two. At full production, it will reach approximately 35,000 unites annually, running two shifts.

The company says the future facility will incorporate the latest technology to increase connectivity throughout the building and equipment to optimize overall energy, productivity and quality.

The first phase of construction is set for completion in late 2021, with the second phase projected to be complete within the following 12-18 months.