The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered a Cherryville, N.C.-based trucking company, to immediately cease operations, declaring it to be an imminent hazard to public safety.
An investigation of Moonlight Express, conducted by FMCSA safety investigators in October, found that the company owner, Rocky Lee Brown, had failed to comply with multiple regulations ranging from the safety of his vehicles to the proper monitoring of his drivers.
The five trucks operated by Moonlight Express failed to meet minimum safety standards, and the company did not systematically inspect, repair or maintain its vehicles, as required by federal safety regulations, according to FMCSA
Investigators found Moonlight Express also failed to ensure its drivers were properly qualified. On multiple instances, a driver with a suspended commercial driver’s license had been allowed to drive a truck. The company did not ensure that its drivers complied with federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigue, including limitations on daily driving and maximum on-duty hours.
According to the out-of-service order the fleet does not have safety management practices in place to ensure its drivers are preparing and submitting accurate records of duty status and that they comply with hours of service regulations.
“Moonlight Express is not requiring its drivers to turn in all records of duty status. Indeed, Moonlight Express provided no documents in response to FMCSA’s demand for copies of driver payroll records, fuel receipts, and bills of lading, effectively preventing FMCSA investigators from determining the dates and times that Moonlight Express drivers operated its commercial motor vehicles,” said the agency.
Moonlight Express’s blatant refusal to oversee its drivers’ hours of service substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for its drivers and for the motoring public, according to FMCSA
The investigation also revealed that Moonlight Express had failed to comply with federally required random testing of drivers for controlled substances and alcohol use. Drivers were dispatched before negative pre-employment controlled substance test results had been received as mandated by federal regulations.
Moonlight Express owner, Rocky Lee Brown, also conducts motor carrier operations under the trade name Rose Trucking, says FMCSA, and that the two operations are in effect one company, a sole proprietorship owned and operated by Brown, but operating under two trade names, with separate USDOT numbers.
On Sept. 18, FMCSA declared Rose Trucking out-of-service following a compliance investigation, which resulted in an unsatisfactory rating. FMCSA also brought an enforcement action against Rose Trucking for violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA has issued out-of-service orders to a total of 11 trucking companies and 26 bus companies. The agency has also declared 10 commercial driver's license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.