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What Does it Take to Shut Down an Unsafe Trucking Company?
Repeat safety violations results in injuries and death before company is ordered to shut down.

Gunthers Transport, LLC, a Maryland-based trucking company, was shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) due to multiple safety violations over a number of years. One of the company’s trucks was involved in a fatal trucking accident in August.

An FMCSA investigation found the company to be an imminent danger to public safety — and it’s not the first time. In 1995, the owner of the company (operating under the name Gunther Leasing Transport) was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud, four counts of making false statements to investigators and one count of perjury. Gunther Leasing Transport was the first company to be held criminally liable for altering driver log books.

The company’s defense lawyers at the time said drivers were making the decision on their own to drive an excessive number of hours and to falsify their driving logs. Former employees had a different story. In the end, the owner was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and fined $170,000.

Fast forward to 2011 and the same trucking company has been shut down for many of the same offenses. Unfortunately, people were injured and killed before the plug was pulled on the company. In the past year, the company’s trucks were involved in seven serious crashes that resulted in four injuries and one death. If you suspect you have been injured by a unsafe trucking company, contact a Kansas City truck accident attorney to discuss your legal options.

Safety deficiencies were found in four of seven safety categories: unsafe driving, driver fatigue, poor driver fitness and vehicle maintenance problems. In the past two years, vehicles were placed out of service more than half of the time they were inspected (far above the national average). The rig involved in the fatal crash was found to have multiple mechanical defects and should have been out of service.  

The drivers themselves didn’t fare any better. They were inspected 245 times in the past two years and were placed out of service 16 percent of the time (average is 5.5 percent). The FMCSA found a pattern of hours of service violations and, once again, evidence of falsified driver logs.

FMCSA administrator Anne Ferro is quoted as saying the FMCSA has zero tolerance for unsafe trucking companies that place the traveling public at risk. But the traveling public may be wondering how a person convicted of felony crimes involving operation of an unsafe trucking company can be licensed to start up another trucking business. And why it took two years worth of safety violations before the business was ordered to shut down.

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