The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered the immediate shutdown of Worcester, Mass.-based J and J Transportation after an investigation following a fatal crash found the company couldn't produce required documents ranging from maintenance records to logbooks.
On December 4, 2015, a J and J Transportation truck was involved in a single-vehicle crash, fatally injuring the driver. In the post-crash investigation, the New York State Police found multiple violations of hours-of-service regulations. But it wasn't the first time this driver had been caught cheating on logs. The same driver had been cited for false logbooks during roadside inspections in October and just two days before the fatal crash.
In early February, FMCSA investigators visited J and J to conduct a compliance review. The trucking company couldn't show it had taken any action following the two roadside inspections to ensure that the driver – and all its drivers – complied with hours of service and logbook regulations.
In addition, the company refused or was unable to produce key documentation and safety records, including:
- Vehicle maintenance records, including servicing schedules or documentation indicating that the company had a vehicle maintenance program.
- Drivers’ vehicle inspection reports or evidence that drivers undertook pre-trip and post-trip safety inspections.
- Evidence that defects identified in past roadside inspections had been corrected.
- Records for a majority of its drivers addressing driver qualification documentation leading directly to the fleet dispatching multiple drivers that had suspended or invalid CDLs.
- Medical examiner’s certificates for its drivers
- Complete records-of-duty status for its drivers or supporting documents, such as fuel and toll receipts.
- Records for a majority of its driver documenting that they underwent mandatory pre-employment controlled substances tests.
The investigation revealed that J and J Transportation has a history of poor compliance, FMCSA said. During roadside inspections over the past 12 months, the company’s vehicles were placed out-of-service at a rate of 33%, which is 1.5 times the national average, according to FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order.
The company’s owner, John A. Robles, who is the sole person responsible for its management, reportedly didn’t know how to check driver’s records of duty status for compliance with hours of service regulations and has never done so.
During the investigation, the company claimed that it had used only two drivers in the previous 12 months. But investigators discovered that J and J had actually used seven or more drivers during that period.
Violating FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order can result in penalties of up to $60,000 and a criminal penalty with a fine of up to $25,000.