Quickway Transportation out of Nashville, Tennessee is the company Russell Staley was working for at when he veered off the road and hit a bus carrying a softball team from North Central Texas College. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says Staley is a route driver that often traveled from Texas to Oklahoma.
CBS 11 I-Team Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal dug into Quickway’s past, sorting through crash reports and federal inspections.
In the last two years, the company has racked up 35 crashes, 20 of them resulted in injuries but no fatalities. Compared to other companies, they actually aren’t that bad. In fact, the US Department of Transportation gives them a “satisfactory” rating.
But one thing that did stick out, that could impact other drivers not involved in this specific accident, is the insurance requirement for trucking companies.
The numbers are hard to ignore – Two vehicles destroyed, twelve people injured, four young lives taken and hundreds impacted by this one crash. The cost of all this seems immeasurable, right?
But in some ways, federal insurance standards do put a price tag on accidents like the one in Oklahoma. Those rules only require trucking companies to carry a minimum of $750,000 in insurance coverage.
The CBS 11 I-Team uncovered Quickway Transportation had a $1 million policy to help cover individual accidents.
“That’s really not enough,” Brigham McCown said. “And there’s a growing course of support to substantially raise those limits.”
Brigham McCown was a top attorney for the US Department of Transportation who now works as a transportation expert for the industry and private companies. He says, between funeral expenses and medical bills, that $1 million policy won’t go far and families will be limited on their options.
“Once you go through this million dollars, you’re left to try and recover from the company, if it’s around and if it has assets,” McCown explained.
The I-Team also found out Quickway Transportation has two sister companies in Nashville, Quickway Services and Quickway Carriers. McCown believes that information will be extremely important once that insurance policy runs out.
“The law allows you to set up different companies so that in the event of a legal risk to the company, that company can shut down but you can still stay in business under one of the other names,” McCown noted.
“How often does that happen,” Villarreal asked.
“It happens far too often and it’s something the federal government has recognized,” McCown told us. In fact, they’ve come out in the last year and said, if you dissolve a company and try to start another one, we’re going to follow you.
Those insurance standards haven’t changed in decades, but the US Department of Transportation is talking about increasing the amounts.
We did reach out to Quickway’s safety director, but he did not want to answer any questions while the investigations are on-going.
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