It’s been a wild week in trucking. One state has announced that they’re cracking down on drivers violate chain laws; a trucker fell into a manhole at a Love’s truck stop; and a man was sentenced for helping non-English speaking students cheat on CDL exams.

Trucker sentenced for using spy tools to help students cheat on CDL tests

A New York truck driver was sentenced in federal court last week for his part in a plot to use spying devices to help non-English speakers fraudulently obtain commercial drivers licenses.

On December 6, Queens-based truck driver Aziz Akhrorov was sentenced to time served and issued a $1000 fine after he pled guilty charges of conspiracy to unlawfully produce commercial drivers licenses. The conspiracy took place between 2014 and 2016, according to court documents.

Federal authorities say that Akhrorov’s scheme involved recruiting CDL applicants in the state of New York who were usually of Russian descent and who often didn’t know enough English to pass a CDL exam.

After recruiting the CDL students in New York, Akhrorov would send them to his partner Taras Chabanovych in Florida.

Chabanovych would provide the CDL students with bogus residency documents so that they could take their tests in Florida. Then, Chabanovych would provide the students with sophisticated “spying” devices composed of cellphones, batteries, and wires for them to wear during their CDL tests.

Through the devices, the students would receive correct answers from Chabanovych during their exams.

The students reportedly paid Chabanovych as much as $2,600 for help in obtaining a CDL through fraudulent means. Akhrorov would be paid $500 per CDL student who was referred to Chabanovych.

Chabanovych also pled guilty to conspiracy charges and was sentenced in October to time served, two years of probation, and forfeiture of property.

Trucker falls into 30 foot manhole behind truck stop

A Texas truck stop was the scene of a dramatic rescue early today after a trucker fell dozens of feet down an open manhole while walking behind the property.

The incident was reported around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 11, at the Love’s Truck Stop off of I-45 in north Houston, according to a report from ABC 13.

Houston police say that a semi truck driver was walking around a wooded area behind the truck stop when he dropped his cell phone into an open manhole. When the trucker attempted to retrieve his phone, he also fell into the manhole, tumbling 20 to 30 feet into the sewer below.

Another truck driver saw the man fall into the manhole and alerted authorities.

Rescue crews were able to lower a firefighter down into the manhole to rescue the fallen truck driver.

Authorities say that the truck driver suffered a few broken bones in the fall, but he is expected to be okay. He is currently recovering in the hospital.

The manhole has since been covered up with wood to prevent anyone else from falling in.

You can see video of the dramatic rescue below.

State cracks down on chain law violators with increased fines and enforcement

Washington state transportation authorities announced that they are amping up chain enforcement on Snoqualmie Pass this winter.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) issued a warning on Monday, December 10, to let drivers know that they are teaming up with state troopers to increase chain enforcement on I-90 through Snoqualmie Pass this winter.

WSDOT says that the reason for the enhanced enforcement effort comes down to the fact that drivers who don’t chain up often cause crashes that shut down the interstate:

“Unfortunately, many drivers crossing snowy mountain passes either don’t carry chains despite it being required by law, or don’t put them on. For the past several years, more than half of the closures on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass have been due to vehicles ignoring a chain-up requirement and then getting into collisions and blocking lanes.”

Because of the difficulty in getting tow trucks in to remove crashed vehicles on the snowy mountain pass, transportation officials often have to shut down I-90 when a crash occurs. “Not only does it take a long time, but it’s a huge inconvenience to the more than 30,000 vehicles that travel across Snoqualmie Pass every day,” says WSDOT

WSDOT warns that drivers who ignore the chain up requirements are subject to fine of up to $500. 

The warning comes as a winter storm is expected to dump as much as two feet of snow on the mountain pass on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here’s a quick reminder on what WSDOT’s traction/chain advisories mean:

  • Traction Tires Advised: Oversize loads prohibited from roadways.
  • Traction Tires Required: All passenger vehicles must have
    approved traction tires.* Chains required on all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds, including large passenger trucks, SUVs and RVs.
  • Tire Chains Required: All vehicles must have approved tire chains, except four- and all-
    wheel-drive vehicles.** Violators face a $500 fine.
  • Chains Required On All Vehicles: During extreme weather, ALL vehicles must install chains when this is posted — even 4WD/AWD.

You can click here to check current chain-up requirements on Washington state mountain passes.