A division of the U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered a Tumwater, Wash.,-based trucking company to “immediately cease all interstate and intrastate operations” after investigators, including the Washington State Patrol, found a number of alleged safety violations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which ultimately issued the order, said the company posed “an imminent hazard to public safety.”
They also have issued a separate order against Shawn Roberts, one of the company’s drivers, which prevents him from operating any commercial vehicle in interstate commerce. Washington State Patrol commercial vehicle enforcement officer Kevin Valentine said that applies to intrastate commerce, too.
The company, Even Flo Logistics, could not be reached Dec. 13. The company and driver also face potential fines and possibly criminal penalties, according to the FMCSA.
The Washington State Patrol Motor Carrier Safety Division, which does compliance reviews of trucking companies, including high-risk interstate carriers, investigated Even Flo in August. That happened because roadside inspections in multiple states since January showed repeated safety violations, requiring that Roberts be placed out-of-service at a rate more than 13 times the national average.
The state patrol compliance check was later forwarded to the FMCSA, Valentine said. Although the state patrol investigation is complete, the federal agency’s review continues, a spokesman said.
Among the alleged company violations:
• Failure to comply with driver qualification requirements, including that its drivers were properly licensed to operate a commercial motor vehicle. At least two times Roberts operated a truck with only a commercial learner’s permit and did not have a licensed commercial driver with him.
• Failure to comply with maximum hours-of-service requirements to prevent driver fatigue. During 12 roadside inspections, Roberts was cited for 10 hours-of-service violations.
• Failure to ensure that drivers tested negative for controlled substances/alcohol before being allowed to operate commercial motor vehicles.
Even Flo was ordered to cease operations in October, then allegedly operated at least two more times in violation of the order, the FMCSA said in a news release.
There are steps the company and Roberts can take to become compliant again, according to the FMCSA.
Among them for the company: Implement a complete alcohol and controlled substances testing program. Among them for Roberts: Complete 160 hours of commercial training by a school approved by the Washington State Department of Licensing.