By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revoked a Colorado trucking company’s operating authority last year after a safety investigation.
The company, however, continued to haul construction and scrapping debris since that order – prompting FMCSA to threaten $25,000 fines and possible jail time for the company’s operators.
On Tuesday, June 18, FMCSA announced it had filed an imminent hazard out-of-service order against the company.
According to an FMCSA news release, Commerce City, Colo.-based E & K Trucking Inc. had its operating authority revoked in Dec. 2012 for numerous unresolved safety violations. The company failed to repair and inspect its vehicles for safety and maintenance issues, and failed to have a system for inspections and repairs, court documents show.
Court documents allege the company didn’t require background checks to see if newly hired drivers had CDLs or medical clearance to drive commercial vehicles.
The company also appears to have brazenly opposed FMCSA’s enforcement efforts even after its authority was yanked in December.
“E & K Trucking has conducted nearly daily trips transporting property in commercial motor vehicles in interstate and intrastate commerce after the effective date of the unsatisfactory safety rating, FMCSA order to cease and registration revocation,” FMCSA wrote in court documents.
“Investigators have verified that E & K Trucking is aware of its final unsatisfactory safety rating, FMCSA’s order to cease and revocation of authority. E & K Trucking has indicated to investigators that it has no plans or intentions of ceasing transportation operations.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s response in the news release was short and direct.
“We will not allow unsafe truck and bus companies to endanger the public,” LaHood said, according to the news release. “We will use all means possible to remove unsafe commercial vehicles from our highways and roads. There is no higher priority than safety.”
FMCSA ordered all of E & K Trucking’s 32 vehicles to remain stationary even without freight, even specifying that trips to a repair facility “be accomplished only by towing.”
The entire out-of-service order can be read here.
“Our safety regulations protect everyone who shares the road with large trucks and buses,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said, according to the news release. “The safe condition of the vehicle and the qualifications of the driver are the responsibility of the company. Company owners that cannot or will not abide by the safety regulations will find their business shut down while facing civil, and possibly criminal, penalties.”
On top of previous civil penalties and interest charged to E & K Trucking’s owners by FMCSA, the owners also face additional fines up to $25,000 and possible criminal charges and jail time if they don’t comply with the imminent hazard out-of-service order, FMCSA said.
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