Safety & Compliance

Judge Overrules FMCSA Shutdown Order of Illinois Trucking Company

April 17, 2014

By Evan Lockridge

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Just over two weeks after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered an Illinois-based trucking company to shut down all interstate movements, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled it can return to the roadway.

DND International challenged the agency’s order, in which it was described as “an imminent hazard to public safety” following an investigation into the trucking company that began after a Jan. 27 crash killing an Illinois Tollway worker and seriously injured an Illinois State Police trooper.

An administrative law judge ruled there was no evidence that actions by DND contributed to the crash and the FMCSA failed to prove the carrier was a danger, according to the Chicago Tribune.

According to DND’s attorney, the carrier lost all of its drivers following the April 1 FMCSA order, and it will take some time before the operation is back up and running.

FMCSA says its investigation uncovered a pattern of logbook falsification by drivers. However, the judge said between the time the investigation ended and FMCSA ordered DND off the road, the carrier was in the process of switching to electronic logs.

The FMCSA says it will appeal the ruling.

“Investigators uncovered a dangerous pattern of behavior that the company and their drivers made every effort to conceal. Keeping this company off the road is in the best interest of public safety,” said agency spokesperson Marissa Padilla in a statement.

Federal safety records show DND has exceeded the threshold for intervention by the FMCSA in both the unsafe driving and hours of service compliance categories under the agency's CSA Safety Measurement System. It also has poor marks in the vehicle maintenance category, but not enough to trigger agency intervention. DND’s out-of-service rate based upon inspections is 19% for vehicles and 9% for drivers.

Comments

  1. 1. Mr. Truck [ April 17, 2014 @ 10:03AM ]

    This IS likely an unsafe carrier. Unfortunately, the FMCSA has shot themselves in the foot crying wolf at every opportunity. Now, even members of the judiciary seem to recognize they're less interested in safety and more interested in punitive enforcement actions.

    The FMCSA used to at least TRY to act in good faith as an honest protector of public safety, now they're just another parasitic bureaucracy sucking an industry dry.

  2. 2. Marlin Bruce [ April 18, 2014 @ 09:32AM ]

    I think everyone has lost faith in FMCSA, CSA & DOT for foolish acts and now everyone has reason to question every decision made by them. All these agencies will have to do much to ever regain any respect.

  3. 3. Mr. Lawman [ April 21, 2014 @ 04:18PM ]

    ..Goodwin said in his ruling that there was no evidence the company’s safety practices caused “any fatigue, recklessness, dangerous driving [or] negligent driving,” that contributed to the crash.

    Nice precedent. Driver exceeds max hours of service kills a highway worker and the company is relieved from any and all responsibility. Sounds like it's ok to drive as many hours as you want, run over as many people as you want and the company just keeps on trucking. Nice job your honor! Let the road rage, aggressive driving and madness begin. Seems like a narrow minded judgement.

  4. 4. Steve Smith [ April 21, 2014 @ 05:08PM ]

    NTSB berates FMCSA for not acting fast enough to shut down dangerous carriers, which prompts a congressional investigation, and now a judge claims they acted too fast. Wait until one of his family members is killed, I bet he changes his tune then. Can't win for losing.

  5. 5. Mike [ April 21, 2014 @ 08:46PM ]

    As a Carrier i can i'm totally on a judge's side. If a driver is driving studipidely on the road how is it carrier's fault ? ? ? ..Lot of driver's are screwing up carrier's all over the country. They are getting violations and driving insanly and blaming carrier's for all this. If they are unahppy at there job then why don't they go work for someone else there is already a shortage of drivers. I think the real enemy are the driver's who are driving unsafe and not the Carrier's. All across country small carriers are trying everything to be safe but the quality of driver's is so bad that no one is looking at them. Plus FMCSA needs to educate shipper's and receivers to timely unload and load trucks .
    I had a driver park on the off ramp in Louisiana and get all kinds of tickets for parking offramp and I as a carrier is getting nailed down for it ,, how is this a justice for a carrier..... A Single Driver for it's Stupid being can screw up a carrier's rating and then if a carrier fires him then he just get's a job down the street since he knows there's such a shortage for his skills...It's is ridiculous how driver's are screwing up carrier's rating .....I do beleive there are bad carrier but most carriers are trying to run the business and Only way i think a Carrier should be held liable for is if the equipment is bad and breaks down on the raod and injures someone now if a driver's driving habbit's......

  6. 6. Liberty Louviere [ April 22, 2014 @ 01:30PM ]

    Like it or not the FMCSA scores are becoming monitored by an increasing amount of our Oilfield Hauling customer base here in the Gulf Coast states. There are a lot of good things about the system that has made companies and DRIVERS be held more accountable for their safety practices. However, it has opened the door for the determinations of each individual roadside Inspector (whose perspectives vary greatly) to dramatically effect a company's scores with on stop or two. Not sure where we are headed but it keeps our company on our toes. We are able to weed out unsafe drivers more efficiently now whereas before they could jump companies without their safety record following them. Now they can't.

  7. 7. Mike [ April 22, 2014 @ 01:56PM ]

    Win for drivers now let's disband all regulatory agencies

  8. 8. Bruce W. Granai [ April 22, 2014 @ 05:01PM ]

    Money, Money, trucking companies push drivers (some need pushing) drivers driver faster, harder, longer and for what, Money. Now government agencies realize they can get a piece of that pie, inspect and fine drivers and companies. It's time someone woke up and accept today's technology. A company can track every movement a driver makes, unlike years ago when I drove. I could actually go for days and the company had no idea what I was doing or where I was doing it. Now with the ability to track drivers comes the ability to control drivers. Oh their not going to like it but they didn't like Qualcom when it came along until they found out how helpful it could be. What I'm leading up to here is That it's time to consider putting a driver on an hourly wage. Oh calm down, just think about it. A driver now has no need or benefit to speed
    he'll lose money. He would get paid for hours worked including sitting at a shipper or receiver which could be a condition of goods transported. The shipper's would soon realize trucking has had enough. if a driver went over allowable hours he would have to be paid but written up with a violation, 3rd violation bye bye. There are many more benefits to paying a driver by the hour but everyone is comfortable sitting around trying to figure how to circumvent the system, why they'll just come up with another system. Compliance would be simplified, safety would pay (drivers and companies). Driver's would do things they are not paid for now, pre-trips,
    post trips, cargo inspections, loading and unloading, fueling trucks, some minor repairs. Think about it companies ask drivers to do thinks everyday for no pay. Move trailers around for an hour to get to theirs for no pay. Ask a director of operation to wash the owners car for no pay, yeah right.
    So the answer to many of these problems could improve by simply paying the driver by the hour

  9. 9. Jim [ April 22, 2014 @ 05:31PM ]

    I've been saying for quite awhile, that drivers should be compensated by the hour ... The drivers would be compensated for everything they do. It takes away the incentive to speed, violate H.O.S. . The accident ratio would drop, the drivers should become healthier ( less stressed) ( This also saves companies money) Pre -trip and post -trip inspections would be done more completely ( catching little things before they become big things) Again ... a safety and maintenance issue ,potentially , saving the company money and down time. Shippers and receivers would be held accountable for delays. The only negative issue is that it will force dispatch and management to manage instead of laying it on the driver and heading for the golf course.
    This non-sense of a drivers time isn't worth anything is a MAJOR reason quality drivers are leaving in droves and the new ones don't stick around to make it a career.
    I have heard these executives and owners cry that they can't afford paying the driver by the hour. Although they can afford HUGE bonuses for themselves... My suggestion : Adjust your rates accordingly, compensate fairly, provide a good service to your customers... or get out of this industry and let the true , good , efficient , carriers prosper.

  10. 10. Allen [ April 23, 2014 @ 12:30PM ]

    @JIM: Your solution also incentivizes the drivers to slow down. As to "you hear of exe bonus's" I suggest you fail to know the full economic climate and are espousing uninformed information. There are better mediums for both to reach a consensus when using averaged run times, based off actual information.

  11. 11. Drive Safe [ April 29, 2014 @ 05:05AM ]

    You may want to review this judges ruling in the past with FMCSA he has upheld IH many times but was once overturned on a ruling in favor of FMCSA. The overturning agency was FMCSA themself. There have been some ruling since that seem strange. Like this one. In this case the driver was over hours and the company had a patteren of letting drivers run over hours yet that had nothing to do with the driver's crash. Really? in another one the driver did not see what was in the trailer was hauling undeclared HM and the judge stated he had no reason to know he had HM. Really? Safe companies my not like everything FMCSA is doing but most understand they are needed and have no problem with them. The hate seems to be more from companies that want to run wild.

 

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