The U.S. DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared New Jersey-based J&A Transportation Inc. an imminent hazard to public safety, and ordered the trucking company to shut down its operations.

FMCSA placed J&A Transportation out of service after numerous roadside inspections, which found multiple hours-of-service, driver and vehicle maintenance violations. The order also applies to J&A Transportation's principals and drivers.

Safety investigators found that the trucking company continued to operate without an active USDOT number and valid operating authority. They also discovered that the company operated vehicles that had serious mechanical defects and were not regularly inspected or repaired. The company's drivers had serious hours-of-service and driver qualification violations.

.J&A Transportation is managed and/or controlled by Claytea Armstrong, Watrina Armstrong and Joseph Armstrong and employs two drivers. The company failed a New Entrant safety audit in July 2010 because it did not have basic safety management controls in place, and its New Entrant operating authority was revoked on in November 2010.

Two months later, the company submitted an overdue Corrective Action Plan, but the plan did not provide proof of a controlled substances and alcohol testing policy, supervisor training, or random alcohol testing. On January 7, 2011, FMCSA notified the company that its CAP was not accepted and its New Entrant operating authority remained revoked.

In May 2011, the FMCSA New Jersey Division attempted to conduct a mandatory safety investigation. By September, after several unsuccessful attempts to schedule an investigation, the FMCSA New Jersey Division inactivated J&A Transportation's DOT number.

However, the company continued to operate, despite that fact that it had no active DOT number, no active operating authority, and insufficient safety management. J&A Transportation has repeatedly defied FMCSA out-of-service orders and has not allowed FMCSA investigators to conduct mandatory inspections.

The company's driver log violation rate is 50%; its log out-of-service violation rate is 30%. Vehicle violations included tires that were flat and with belt material showing, multiple inoperable lamps, overweight loads, the truck having to be hotwired to be started, and more.

"FMCSA takes seriously its responsibility to remove unscrupulous truck companies off the road," says FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. "Companies that disregard safety will be shut down."

The company could be assessed penalties of up to $16,000 per day for each day it continues the proscribed interstate or intrastate operations. If violations are determined to be knowing and willful, criminal penalties may be imposed, including a fine of up to $25,000 and a one-year prison term.