The FMCSA recently shut down two trucking companies, declaring them imminent hazards to public safety.
In January, The FMCSA ordered JDJD Transportation located in Las Vegas to immediately shut down after a federal investigation revealed a number of violations of critical safety regulations. JDJD Transportation operated three truck-tractors that transported heavy equipment, machinery, and metal in the southwestern US.
An FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) investigation showed the trucking company in violation of a number of serious federal regulations. The violations included:
Failing to ensure that its truck drivers complied with hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigue, including limitations on daily driving and maximum on-duty hours. During the investigation, investigators found that JDJD Transportation failed to maintain copies of truck drivers’ records and had no safety management system to check and ensure driver compliance.
Failing to ensure drivers possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and that they were qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle, using truck drivers that had not been tested for drug or alcohol use, and failing to implement a drug and alcohol testing program.
Failing to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain its commercial vehicles. JDJD Transportation had no annual inspection records and did not require truck drivers to conduct pre- and post-trip inspections for its 15- to 30-year-old vehicles despite a pattern of roadside inspections finding serious maintenance problems.
Prior to the investigation, the trucking company was subjected to nine roadside inspections. On all but two occasions, the inspections led to the discovery of multiple serious safety violations. During an inspection just three days before the FMCSA ordered the carrier to cease operations, JDJD Transportation’s vehicle was placed out-of-service for multiple safety defects, including cracks in the vehicle’s frame.
During the same time period, the company was also cited for failing to ensure compliance with load securement, size limitation, and signage requirements. In December 2014, a JDJD flatbed trailer struck an overpass near Houston, Texas. The drivers was charged with transporting an oversized load, having an expired license, and having no insurance.
The FMCSA imminent hazard order instructs JDJD Transportation to cease all commercial motor vehicle operations, including interstate and intrastate transportation, from all dispatching locations or terminals. Additionally, the FMCSA has revoked the carrier’s federal operating authority and suspended its USDOT number. Defying an imminent hazard out-of-service order and operating without authority and a USDOT number could cost the company in a big way. Civil penalties of up to $60,000 as well as a criminal penalty including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment of up to a year could come in response to violations of the order.
“Our highly trained team of federal safety investigators and inspectors are dedicated professionals who work in close cooperation with our state partners every day everywhere in the country,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We will continue to be aggressive in enforcing safety rules that serve to protect everyone.”
More recently, a South-Dakota based trucking company, Lonnie Roth, and separately its owner, have been ordered to immediately cease all interstate and intrastate commercial operations following an investigation. The October 2014 investigation, conducted by FMCSA safety investigators, resulted in an unsatisfactory safety rating. Investigators found the company guilty of serious violations, including dispatching a driver known to have an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher, failing to implement a random testing program for truck drivers for controlled substances and alcohol use, and failing to ensure that its drivers complied with federal hours-of-service regulations. On December 28, a federal order requiring the company to cease operations went into effect.
On December 5, 2014, owner Lonnie Roth’s commercial driver’s license was revoked separately. The license was revoked by the state because Roth operated a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
In January, on at least one occasion, Roth’s trucking company defied the federal shut-down order, continuing commercial operations. Driver Roth was discovered to be operating a commercial motor vehicle without a valid CDL and while violating federal regulations on the consumption of alcohol prior to operating a commercial motor vehicle.
“There is no higher priority than safety and we will not hesitate to order unsafe commercial drivers, vehicles, or entire companies off the road,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Our common sense safety regulations serve to protect the motoring public; everyone deserves to reach their destination safely.”
**Update: The FMCSA announced a third company that they would be shutting down, after declaring in an imminent hazard to public safety. Sorbon Transport, based in Aurora, Colorado has been ordered to be shut down immediately after a recent federal investigation revealed a number of critical safety violations.
The FMCSA launched a safety investigation of Sorbon Transport earlier this month. The investigation yielded numerous serious violations of federal regulations. Sorbon Transport was cited for failing to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain its commercial vehicles, failing to ensure that its drivers complied with hours-of-service regulations, and failing to ensure drivers were qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Additional details on the company’s violations can be found here.
The FMCSA imminent hazard order means Sorbon Transport must cease all commercial motor vehicle operations from all dispatching locations or terminals. The FMCSA also revoked the carriers federal operating authority and suspended its USDOT number. If Sabor Transport violates the imminent hazard out-of-service order, the company could face civil penalties, of up to $60,000 as well as a criminal penalty including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment of up to a year.
“Companies that ignore basic safety maintenance of their equipment, disregard hours of service requirements, and use unqualified drivers have no place on our highways and roads,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “FMCSA staff across the country are dedicated to protecting innocent lives by preventing crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles from ever occurring.”