The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Jefferson, Ohio-based trucking company Garfield Trucking to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered that it immediately cease all intrastate and interstate operations.
Last month, a commercial vehicle operated by Garfield Trucking was stopped for an unannounced roadside safety inspection in Missouri. A total of 43 safety violations were recorded during the inspection, including 13 out-of-service violations such as multiple instances of improperly adjusted or inoperable brakes, defective brake components, cracked frame rails, load securement violations, and falsified hours-of-service log books.
It was further discovered that Garfield Trucking had been operating in violation of two separate out-of-service orders, one of which dated back more than a year.
FMCSA safety investigators visited Garfield Trucking in mid-October to conduct an unscheduled compliance review. The investigators observed an “out-of-business” announcement on the premises. The investigators left and also sent by express mail copies of a demand for access letter and an administrative subpoena for company documents. Garfield Trucking has yet to provide FMCSA safety investigators with access to the subpoenaed documents.
Due to the denial of access, Garfield Trucking has been unwilling to produce proof to FMCSA that the company has a safety program. Garfield Trucking’s refusal to allow FMCSA access, its continued operation despite two out-of-service orders, its continued use of unsafe vehicles, and its failure to comply with hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigued driving substantially increase the likelihood of serious harm to drivers, passengers, and the motoring public.
Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order and operating without operating authority and a USDOT number may result in civil penalties up to $60,000 as well as a criminal penalty, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year.