Despite extensive safety regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation – commercial carriers such as trucking companies and bus lines continue to exhibit a callous disregard for the safety of their drivers, passengers, and others on the road. Indeed, our experienced trucking accident attorneys know that violations of the many rules and regulations issued for all of our protection occur on a daily basis.
In fact, the FMCSA has, in recent months, shut down two separate companies for routine, regular, and pervasive violations of federal safety rules.
The first company shut down was J&A Transportation, Inc., a trucking company based in New Jersey. The FMCSA declared the company an imminent hazard to public safety, and ordered it to shut down. J&A’s violations included leaving drivers behind the wheel well beyond the permitted hours of service and failing to regularly maintain and inspect its vehicles as required. These maintenance problems were not merely academic: many of J&A’s trucks in regular operation were on U.S. roadways despite serious, dangerous mechanical defects.
The company also continued to operate despite not having an active USDOT number, and thus not having the authority to engage in trucking. The company’s drivers, likewise, were often not properly licensed or qualified to drive heavy commercial vehicles.
The second company shut down in recent months was Heartland Charters & Tours, a bus company operating out of Oklahoma. The company was ordered to shut down because, like J&A, it had engaged in numerous driver hours-of-service violations and vehicle maintenance and inspection failures. Also like J&A, Heartland had routinely placed untrained and unqualified drivers behind the wheel.
Unlike J&A, however, and particularly troubling to our bus accident attorneys, the FMCSA found that Heartland did not conduct any pre-employment drug screening of its bus drivers, nor did it conduct testing of drivers once employed.
While our Chicago trucking accident attorneys are pleased to see the FMCSA taking action to put unsafe truck and bus companies out of service, we also understand that these two companies are only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is that to reach the point of being ordered to shut down by the FMCSA takes months or years of persistent violations. In those months and years, countless innocent people can be injured are killed by the dangerous vehicles and drivers illegally place on the roads.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bus or truck accident, there is a good chance that violations of the FMCSA rules were, at least in part, responsible for your injuries. Talk to an experienced attorney about your case. Your attorney can help you to preserve the evidence, investigate the circumstances surrounding your crash, and obtain justice and compensation.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.