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It doesn’t take a crash, injuries or deaths for federal authorities to shut down a motor carrier. Serious concerns about vehicle and driver safety are enough to take commercial vehicles off the road, as this case shows.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered New Jersey-based J&A Transportation to shut down its operations. The agency says the company is “an imminent hazard to public safety.”
FMCSA found multiple hours-of-service, driver and vehicle maintenance violations during numerous roadside inspections of J&A’s trucks.
Specifically, the FMCSA says J&A:
- continued to operate without an active USDOT number and valid operating authority
- operated vehicles that had serious mechanical defects and were not regularly inspected and repaired, and
- allowed its drivers to have serious hours-of-service and qualification violations.
Events leading up to the shut-down order began on July 16, 2010, when J&A was the subject of a safety audit. The company failed the audit because it didn’t have basic safety management controls in place. Its operating authority was revoked on Nov. 1, 2010.
In January 2011, J&A submitted a plan to address the problems noted in the safety audit. However, the plan didn’t provide proof of a controlled substances and alcohol testing policy, supervisor training, or random alcohol testing.The FMCSA notified J&A that its operating authority remained revoked.
In September 2011, after several attempts to conduct a mandatory safety investigation of J&A, the FMCSA inactivated the company’s Department of Transportation (DOT) number. However, J&A continued to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce despite not having a DOT number.
Among the vehicle safety problems uncovered in roadside inspections of J&A trucks:
- driving on a flat tire with inadequate tread depth
- brakes out of service
- inoperable rear stop and tail lamps
- tractor unable to maintain air pressure with service brakes applied and engine idle
- vehicle not marked in accordance with regulations, and
- vehicle operating without a periodic inspection.