A recent rise in trucking companies cutting corners and ignoring Federal Motor Carrier Transportation Laws could be placing the public at an elevated risk. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have shut down two separate trucking companies for blatantly disregarding the law and safety. Cutting corners is a bad practice that rises in all businesses when the economy is bad, but this simply is not acceptable when you are talking about companies that put heavy 18 wheelers and other commercial vehicles on the public highways.
On March 30, 2012, the FMCSA ordered Utah-based Reliable Transportation Services, Inc. to immediately cease all transportation services. Reliable Transportation Services, Inc. and the trucking company’s principal, Jay Zachary Barber, were both declared an imminent hazard to public safety. The shut down order comes after safety investigators found hours-of-service and driver qualification violations that substantially increased the likelihood of serious injury or death to the traveling public. FMCSA’s investigation revealed that the company was using drivers with suspended or revoked commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and was not employing any drug or alcohol tests with regards to their drivers. Reliable Transportation was also found to be transporting concealed hazardous material loads without valid federal registration. Hazardous material loads are highly regulated and require special permits to ensure proper containment and disposal.
On April 9, 2012, the FMCSA ordered the shutdown of J&A Transportation. Several roadside inspections found that the company’s truck drivers had committed multiple hours-of-service, driver and vehicle maintenance violations. Investigators further found that the trucking company continued to operate without an active US DOT number or valid operating authority, that they were operating vehicles that had serious mechanical defects, and were not regularly inspected and repaired.
Hours-of-service violations often refer to drivers either not keeping proper log book records or driving for a longer time than Federal Law allows without taking the appropriate amount of off-duty and/or break time. Excessive driving hours can lead to truck driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents with regard to over-the-road truck drivers. Vehicle defects can refer to anything from safety devices and signals not working to faulty air-brakes, lights, gages and/or tires. All of these violations can lead to very serious and catastrophic consequences if permitted to continue.
If you see an 18 wheeler on the road that appears to be swerving or having difficulties maintaining a single lane, please contact the local authorities at once.