A Georgia trucking company has been declared an imminent hazard to public safety by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation news release. Following a fatal crash, DOT investigators discovered several violations committed by the company.
In August, Dwight Anthony Preddie, co-owner of Decatur, Ga.-based Keep on Trucking, was driving a truck on Interstate 95 in Spotsylvania County, Va. Despite driving into a construction zone, Preddie kept his speed at 63 mph, according to a FMCSA report.
As a result of failing to slow down, Preddie slammed into a Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling approximately 5 mph, pushing the Jeep into a stopped tractor-trailer and killing the driver of the Jeep. A passenger inside the Grand Cherokee was critically injured.
Virginia State Police discovered that Preddie was driving with a suspended license, driving an uninsured vehicle and had violated hours-of-service regulations. Preddie also was charged with reckless driving.
Investigations after the crash revealed Keep on Trucking violated numerous federal safety statues and regulations. Keep on Trucking failed to comply with any driver qualification requirements, including ensuring drivers were properly licensed and possessed a valid medical certificate.
Furthermore, Keep on Trucking could not produce any records-of-duty-status documents, violating hours-of-service compliance requirements. Investigations also found that the company failed to monitor drivers’ operations, discovering several violations ranging from failure to use a safety belt to reckless driving.
Preddie also did not regularly inspect, maintain and repair Keep on Trucking’s vehicles. DOT investigators could not find any copies of roadside inspections or receipts for repairs. In the past year, Keep on Trucking trucks have been cited for inoperable/defective brakes, broken/missing axle position components, inoperable lights, damaged windshield and battery installation deficiencies.
Lastly, the Georgia trucking company did not possess the required operating authority nor did the company possess the minimum level of insurance required by federal regulations.
Keep on Trucking was served the order to cease all operations on Nov. 2. The company faces up to $25,705 in civil penalties for each violation of the out-of-service order. The company may also face civil penalties of not less than $10,282 for not having current operating authority and up to $14,502 for operating a truck without proper DOT registration. As the investigation continues, the carrier could face criminal penalties and criminal prosecution.
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