Carlos Vinciguerra-Gomez, 58, of Elizabeth, was killed Tuesday, when his tank truck crashed and became engulfed in flames on the New Jersey turnpike. Vinciguerra-Gomez’s truck was carrying approximately 8,500 gallons of gas, and his injuries included burns over 90 percent of his body.

Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations

Under Federal Hazardous Materials regulations, which govern not only interstate transport of hazardous materials, but also intrastate transport on any highway, many requirements are imposed on companies like the one that employed Vinciguerra-Gomez in order to protect both truck drivers and those around them on the highway. Under 49 CFR 171.2(a)), any person or company transporting a hazardous material must be registered in accordance with federal regulations, and the material being carried must be adequately classed, described, packaged, marked, labeled, and in proper condition for shipment. Federal regulations set specific standards for all of these requirements.
Additionally, many regulations apply the fitness and safety practices of commercial drivers in general, aimed at minimizing the risks that these types of vehicles pose when traveling the roads. Under 49 CFR 395, limitations are imposed on how many hours a driver may spend operating his commercial vehicle consecutively, including specifics for scenarios like adverse driving conditions and emergencies, and standards are set for how many hours must be taken off in between lengths of driving time. Under 49 CFR 40 and 49 CFR 382, drug and alcohol testing of commercial drivers is required. Under 49 CFR 380, proper training is required for commercial drivers, and under 49 CFR 383, commercial drivers are required to follow specific procedures in order to obtain a Commercial Drivers’ License under their state’s applicable laws, and must have regular physical exams and carry a medical certificate. New Jersey law requires commercial drivers who transport hazardous materials to undergo a background check.

Drivers Transporting Commercial Goods

Still more regulations govern the maintenance of proper insurance policies by carriers whose drivers are transporting commercial goods, under 49 CFR 387, and require carriers to meet certain standards regarding the preservation of records for specific timeframes, under 49 CFR 379. Carriers are also required to follow regulated safety fitness procedures under 49 CFR 385, demonstrating that they have sufficient safety management protocol in place.