FMCSA orders Alabama, Georgia fleets off the roads

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered Georgia-based Judson Mobley Logging, Inc. to immediately cease all transportation services, declaring the truck company an imminent hazard to public safety. The agency also order BM&L Trucking of Alabama to shut down because of serious safety issues.

FMCSA immediately shut down Judson Mobley Logging after safety investigators discovered that the company continued to operate its vehicles in violation of a previous agency order to cease transportation services for an unsatisfactory safety rating. In addition to violating a prior shutdown order, investigators found a range of safety infractions, including driver qualification and vehicle maintenance violations “that substantially increased the likelihood of jeopardizing the safety of the traveling public,” FMCSA said.

The FMCSA's Safety Measurement System also showed that Judson Mobley Logging Inc. exceeded the intervention thresholds for the Vehicle Maintenance and Driver Fitness Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (“BASICs”) by a significant margin with scores of 99.8% and 98.1% respectively in these BASICs.

The FMCSA Compliance Review identified a total and complete breakdown of management controls and oversight to ensure safe operations of the company’s commercial motor vehicles. The fleet did not have a vehicle maintenance program in place to prevent the operation of unsafe motor vehicles, did not prepare or maintain vehicle inspection, repair and maintenance records and did not require its drivers to complete driver vehicle inspection reports.

The fleet also failed to follow FMCSA driver qualification requirements to ensure that its drivers were qualified to operate its trucks, did not possess any driver qualification files containing the required employment applications, medical certificates, driver road test certificates, or state motor vehicle record of drivers. The carrier also had not implemented an alcohol or controlled substances testing program.

On Jan. 30,2012, FMCSA ordered Judson Mobley to cease operations after it failed to correct its safety violations discovered during a Compliance Review resulted in the carrier receiving an Unsatisfactory safety rating.

However, the carrier “blatantly and defiantly ignored FMCSA’s order to cease operations,” FMCSA said in its shutdown order. On April 30 2012, a logging tractor-trailer being operated by Judson Mobley crashed into an escorted tractor-trailer carrying a military airplane on US-301 in South Carolina. At the scene of the accident, the South Carolina Transport police officer placed the Judson Mobley rig out-of-service for defective brakes. The South Carolina Transport officer discovered 20 other maintenance violations on the vehicle.

“Unsafe truck companies that jeopardize public safety have no place on our roads,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “We will continue to do everything within our current authority to aggressively pursue and shut down these illegal actors.”

A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2012/Judson-Mobley-IH-order.pdf.

FMCSA also orders ordered Alabama-based BM&L Trucking, LLC, affiliated company IDM Transportation, Inc. and its owners to immediately cease all transportation services based on serious safety violations that FMCSA said posed an imminent hazard to public safety.

FMCSA immediately put BM&L Trucking out of service after a review of the company’s operations that found multiple federal safety violations in the areas of hours-of-service compliance, driver qualifications and vehicle maintenance.

FMCSA investigators discovered that the company did not conduct pre-employment drug screenings of its drivers. FMCSA said the fleet also operated vehicles that had serious mechanical defects, and were not regularly inspected and repaired.

The FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (“SMS”) found that BM&L Trucking exceeded the intervention thresholds in four of the six BASICs by a significant margin: Unsafe Driving (99.2%), Fatigued Driving (86.9%), Driver Fitness (95.4%), and Vehicle Maintenance (99.4%).

“Individually and cumulatively, these violations and conditions of operation substantially increase the likelihood of serious injury or death to BM&L Trucking, LLC drivers and to the motoring public,” FMCSA said in its shutdown order.

The carrier’s violations were so widespread “as to demonstrate a continuing and flagrant general disregard for compliance with the FMCSRs. Indeed, BM&L Trucking, LLC’s operations are reckless, with its management unable to accurately provide investigators with the number of commercial motor vehicles it owns, leases, or otherwise operates, and drivers it employs or uses,” FMCSA said.

“When commercial truck companies and their drivers disregard the safety rules of the road, they place all motorists at risk,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will continue to exhaust every available tool to identify and swiftly shut down unsafe truck companies.”

“This case is an example of our resolve to raise the bar for commercial vehicle and roadway safety,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “There is no place on our roads for commercial truck companies and drivers that do not make safety a top priority.”

A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/about/news/2012/BML-Trucking-IH-Order.pdf.

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