Every industry has its share of rogue operators, those companies and individuals who flout safety rules, cut corners to get a few extra bucks and ignore the risks they pose to those around them. While the great majority of truck drivers and trucking companies are honest and above-board, rogue truck operators pose a huge threat to road safety. So, I was delighted to read about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) immediately shutting down a Texas-based rogue trucking company. That sort of action, stopping dangerous truck companies, needs to happen more regularly.
A Deadly Crash and A Terrible Safety Record
On August 12, 2013 a REDCO truck slammed into a car parked on the shoulder of a I-20 in Louisiana, killing three people, including the driver.
In the subsequent investigation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration discovered that REDCO routinely failed to ensure its drivers comply with federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent driver fatigue. The FMCSA also determined that REDCO failed to ensure its drivers complied with controlled substances and alcohol use and testing regulations, and failed to ensure its drivers were properly qualified. According to the FMCSA, some drivers were sent onto the road before federally required pre-employment drug test results cleared them for operating a commercial truck.
Stopping Dangerous Truck Companies
As a member of the National Advisory Board of APITLA, I place a great emphasis on a rounded approach to increasing the safety of the trucking industry. Sure, litigation is a powerful tool. So is education – especially from highly specialized experts like American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Yet federal enforcement of federal safety regulations is also a key tool and one that historically been underfunded and overlooked.
Following the deadly crash of the REDCO truck in mid August, the FMCSA issued an Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service order against REDCO, effectively shutting down the company with immediate effect. The FMCSA determined that REDCO was such a dangerous trucking company that the immediate halting of its operations was the only way to ensure public safety.
As a truck accident attorney, I laud the FMCSA for this bold action. Rogue operators will sit up and take notice when other rogue companies see their revenue streams instantly clogged by the federal government. The safety of our roads and highways demand such action focused on stopping dangerous truck companies.
According to the FMCSA, the organization has suspended 10 trucking companies and 25 bus operators in 2013. The FMCSA has also declared seven commercial driver’s license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce. This sort of pro-active approach by the federal regulators is long overdue and should be welcomed by all sides in the trucking industry as it greatly enhances the safety of our roads.
The Imminent Hazard Out-of-Operations order is online at: