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FMCSA shuts down four truck companies for a host of violations

Written by Steve Gursten Posted April 24th, 2014

The agency shuts down two commercial bus companies and two trucking companies following multiple serious violations of trucking safety rules

FMCSA shuts down motor carriers

What a pleasant change from how things used to be.  When I was president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Lawyer Group in 2007 and 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) seemed to take its cues from the Bush Administration, and was less willing to take on dangerous trucking companies.

In 2014, however, the FMCSA has shown a real commitment to getting dangerous truck and bus companies off of the road.

The FMCSA recently announced that it has shut down two trucking operations and two bus companies as imminent hazards to public safety.

If you recall, the Department of Transportation (and by extension the FMCSA) has great power to keep dangerous truckers, bus drivers, and their respective companies off of the road. Under the law, 49 U.S.C. § 521(b)(5)(A) reads:

If, upon inspection or investigation, the Secretary determines that a violation…poses an imminent hazard to safety, the Secretary shall order a vehicle or employee operating such vehicle out of service, or order an employer to cease all or part of the employer’s commercial motor vehicle operations…

Shutting down two unsafe truck companies

Pursuant to this law, the FMCSA shut down these four dangerous companies. The trucking operations are Massachusetts-based- GEG Construction and Iowa-based Allen Quandahl, LLC.

Upon inspection, FMCSA investigators concluded that both companies had utterly failed to ensure that their semi-trucks were systematically and properly inspected, repaired and maintained.

As if that were not enough – the inspectors also concluded that the big-rigs that the companies were running were operating in violation of the FMCSRs and were found to be in out-of-service condition.

GEG was also shut down because the trucking company hired drivers before they received negative pre-employment drug and alcohol test results, as they are required to do by the federal regulations. Similarly, Allen Quandahl, failed to have mechanisms in place to ensure its truck drivers complied with drug and alcohol regulations, or hours of service, as required by the FMCSRs.

Shutting down two unsafe bus companies

The two bus companies ordered shut down were by FMCSA are Georgia-based Woodburn’s Tour and Travel and South Carolina-based Motts Transportation, Inc.

The bus companies were shut down for the same reasons as the trucking companies. Both operations failed to systematically inspect, repair and maintain their buses.

Both companies also failed to have safety mechanisms in place to ensure that their bus drivers were following the federal regulations regarding drug and alcohol use.

Keeping motor carriers in line – before they injure or kill

As an attorney, I’ve litigated hundreds of bus and truck accident cases over the past 20 years. And I know that there’s a direct correlation between safety violations and the increased likelihood of future motor carrier crashes. Simply put, when semi-trucks or buses are poorly maintained and when companies allow minor rule violations to occur by failing to monitor and supervise, horrible truck and bus accidents will occur.

A recent case we discussed on this trucking law blog was the New Hampshire truck accident caused by a poorly maintained truck that lost a tire, killing an innocent motorist.

It’s equally important to have mechanisms in place to ensure that truckers and bus drivers are not abusing illegal drugs and alcohol while they are operating their commercial vehicles and have passed required drug tests. Companies are required to have these mechanisms in place, under federal law.

Drug use is a factor in an estimated 65,000 truck accidents a year, according to Trucking 101, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.
It’s imperative to make sure commercial drivers are sober and focused behind the wheel. The smallest error can potentially lead to major truck and bus accidents.

We applaud the FMCSA for proactively stepping up and shutting down these dangerous companies –  before a crash occurs and innocent lives are lost.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.