The prospect of a rogue trucking company placing a hazardous semi-truck on the road with an unsafe driver behind the wheel seems like a frightening scenario. However, our truck accident lawyers found a wave of trucking company shutdowns through the first six months of 2015 that suggest that drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians who share the roads with large commercial trucks could easily be placed at risk by a dangerous vehicle or an unqualified driver.
While these trucking companies might not be based in Florida, these commercial carriers operate in interstate commerce (i.e. across state lines), so they could easily end up next to your vehicle while you are traveling down the roadways of Florida. The extent of the danger posed by commercial carriers indifferent to public safety is reflected by the scope and severity of violations by trucking companies shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) so far this year. Examples of trucking companies that have been forced to take their trucks off U.S. roads through the first six months of 2015 are provided below.
This company was shuttered due to numerous egregious violations discovered during eleven of twelve recent safety inspections. These violations included the following:
- Substandard and improperly maintained brake systems uncovered during a half dozen of these inspections
- Semi-truck wheel hub seals with leaks
- Discovery of a large truck with steering and brake system components saturated with oil
- Large truck with excessively worn tires
These violations led to a more thorough investigation of the commercial carrier that revealed the following safety violations:
- Lack of a maintenance program
- No driver logbooks tracking hours of service (HOS)
- Inadequate compliance with alcohol and drug testing requirements
- Lack of maintenance records
Federal regulators revoked the operating authority for this commercial carrier and suspended its USDOT number, which means the company’s trucks will not return to our roadways for quite some time.
Like Mortise Trucking, this commercial carrier engaged in widespread and egregious violations that resulted in the trucking company being order to pull its trucks off the roads. These violations included:
- Failure to produce hours of service records for the company’s drivers
- No procedure for ensuring that drivers were properly licensed
- Deficiencies in testing drivers for drugs or alcohol
- Lack of a safety management system
A safety investigation conducted by the FMCSA found the company had committed multiple serious violations while transporting fireworks to a baseball stadium. These violations included:
- Transportation of open and improperly secured packages of fireworks
- No fire extinguisher on board
- Presence of alcohol inside the semi-truck
- Driver without a valid commercial driver’s license, hazardous material endorsement, certification of medical fitness, driver logbook records, Hazardous Material Safety Permit (HMSP), hazmat placard, or mandatory shipping documents.
Prudential Carriers, Inc.
Federal regulators conducted an investigation into this commercial carrier following a series of collisions involving several of the company’s large trucks. These accidents included a crash after a truck driver allegedly was instructed by the carrier to get back on a major interstate and complete his run with a tanker full of canola oil that was leaking badly from the vehicle. The investigation revealed four separate crashes were allegedly caused by the spilled canola oil before the driver was stopped and arrested. An investigation of the company following the accidents revealed the following violations:
- No routine for inspection, maintenance and repair of vehicles
- Failure to ensure compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules (i.e., anti-fatigue rules)
- Allowing unqualified drivers to operate commercial trucks
- Lack of random testing of drivers for drug and alcohol
- Failure to ensure compliance with driver qualification requirements
Rogue Trucking Companies Increase Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Risks
These are only a few examples of the types of systematic practices engaged in by rogue trucking companies. These trucking companies that have been forced out-of-service during the first 6 six months of 2015 demonstrate the scope of the danger to those forced to share Florida roadways with unsafe truck drivers. Because of the desire to increase profits, some commercial carriers turn a blind eye to federal regulations that mandate safety rules designed to mitigate the danger posed by 80,000 pound tractor-trailers traveling at speeds of 70 mph hour.
While these companies were forced to remove their big-rigs and drivers from service, orders shutting down a trucking company do not happen overnight. An investigation into a rogue trucking company can take months or even years which means potential deathtraps remain on the roads of South Florida. Sometime trucking companies will evade regulatory authority by closing down and reopening under a new name.
There also are thousands of tractor-trailers that transport products on Florida roadways for commercial carriers that have no safety rating because the company has not yet been subject to a FMCSA inspection. Given this pattern of widespread trucking violations, it is little wonder that most lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death involving victims of negligent truckers and trucking companies are based on violations of safety regulations.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Injuries and Wrongful Death Suffered in Florida Trucking Accidents
If you or a family member has been injured in a Florida trucking accident, our Miami Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.