Last week, the FMCSA ordered two furniture carriers out of service. This week, the FMCSA has continued cracking down on carriers the agency feels is unsafe and has ordered a passenger carrier and a tree service out of service.
“FMCSA is raising the bar to stay in the trucking and bus industry,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Safety cannot be compromised. Adhere to the safety regulations, or you will be shut down.”
The FMCSA has ordered Ben Gordon Enterprises LLC d.b.a. Gordon’s Tree Service of Slidell, Louisiana to immediately cease all operations.
Despite being placed out of service in October 2007 for failing to perform drug and alcohol tests, allowing drivers without CDLs or medical licenses to operate vehicles, failure to maintain an accident register, and failure to perform vehicle inspection reports, Ben Gordon Enterprises continued operating.
According to the out-of-service order to Ben Gordon Enterprises, the FMCSA stated:
You have been out-of-service since October 15,2007. You have had at least 6 inspections for using drivers who do not have a valid or current CDL, 6 inspections using drivers who do not have a valid or current medical certificate, and at least 5 of the inspections occurred while you were subject to the out-of-service order served in 2007.
On July 2, 2012 you were involved in an accident involving another CMV and your driver did not have a current or valid CDL.
On October 11, 2012 you had 2 separate inspections which resulted in both drivers being arrested for driving under the influence and in possession of alcohol.
On October 30, 2012 you were charged with operating in violation of a FMCSA Out-of-Service Order which resulted in a Notice of Default and Final Agency Order being served December 5, 2012.
In a compliance review of your operations conducted on or about November 29, 2012 you received a proposed unsatisfactory safety rating after the investigation found that you used drivers who engaged in conducted prohibited by 49 C.F.R. part 382, subpart 0, without being evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), failed to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substance testing program, used drivers without valid CDLs, operated in violation of an out-of-service order, failed to maintain an accident register and accident repmis, failed to maintain driver qualification files, failed to keep records of inspections and vehicle maintenance, and failed to require drivers to prepare vehicle inspection reports. OnDecember 4, 2012 you were charged with failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substance testing program and for using a driver without a valid CDL.
“Safety is always our top priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “If a truck company ignores federal safety rules and places the traveling public at risk, we will remove them from the road.”
The second carrier to be placed out of service this week is passenger carrier LEX Express, Inc. (DBA Lincolnland Express) of Champaign, Illinois.
On October 22, 2012, the FMCSA issued a statement to LEX Express stating that the company had numerous safety violations, including falsifying reports of duty status and using vehicles that did not have frequent inspections.
FMCSA prohibited LEX Express from operating its fleet of 30 vehicles unless a corrective plan was submitted by the company and approved by the FMCSA.
On Friday, November 30, LEX Express submitted a 600-page safety management plan, which the FMCSA is currently reviewing.
LEX’s owner Robert Frazier told the Daily Illii that the entire incident is a misunderstanding.
“That’s what the Department of Transportation is supposed to do — to come in, identify problems that need to be corrected and have you correct those problems,” Frazier told the paper. “That is what you call government regulation. But this is what you call government destruction, not regulation.”
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