DOT orders trucking company, bus carrier out of service

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 4/9/2012

The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered two motor carriers to stop operations after FMCSA investigations revealed multiple safety violations.

The DOT has ordered J&A Transportation, Inc. to shut down after the New Jersey trucking company was discovered to have multiple violations.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigators found J&A had hours-of-service, driver and vehicle maintenance violations. The order extends to J&A principles Claytea Armstrong, Watrina Armstrong and Joseph Armstrong, as well as company drivers Alterick Sanders and Harry Barrett.

FMCSA made multiple attempts to schedule an investigation with J&A Transportation, but the company never responded. After FMCSA inactivated the company’s DOT number, FMCSA learned the company continued to haul freight without a DOT number or active operating authority.

“Based upon your present state of unacceptable safety compliance, your failure to adequately establish and maintain safety management systems, your failure to ensure your drivers are qualified, and the condition of your commercial motor vehicles, your motor carrier operation substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death if not discontinued immediately,” the order reads.

An unrelated investigation has resulted in a bus operation being shut down.

DOT announced it has declared Oklahoma-based Heartland Charters & Tours an “imminent hazard to public safety, ordering it to immediately shut operations down.

An FMCSA investigation revealed Heartland had multiple hours-of-service, vehicle maintenance, and controlled substance and alcohol testing violations, according to the out-of-service order filing. The company allegedly allowed drivers to begin work before it received a result from pre-employment substance exam tests, and didn’t monitor drivers’ hours-of-service time, allowing the drivers to exceed maximum HOS.

“The compliance review of Heartland Charters & Tours demonstrates a continuing pattern and practice of disregarding FMCSRs,” the order reads.

FMCSA says it has doubled the number of bus inspections and comprehensive safety reviews on the estimated 4,000 registered bus companies that operate with DOT authority.

“Safety is our top priority,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, according to a DOT news release. “We will take swift action against any unsafe bus company that places passengers and other motorists at risk.”

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