Chicago, IL-The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered an Illinois trucking company, which was described as an “imminent hazard,” to take drivers off the road after an investigation revealed a troubling safety record.
FMCSA regulators issued a report in which they said DND International, a Naperville-based trucking company, failed to ensure drivers were complying with federal regulations and drivers routinely falsified log books. Regulators said the company did not have a system in place to assure drivers were complying with federal hours-of-service rules and refused to apply checks when possible, according to the Chicago Tribune.
DND International, according to regulators, is ranked among the 12 percent worst trucking companies in its class in safety categories such as hours-of-service compliance, and unsafe driving. The FMCSA reported the company has been issued tickets across the country.
“D N D International’s drivers routinely travel on Illinois Toll Roads, but D N D International refuses to compare toll transaction information to its drivers’ logs to monitor hours of service compliance,” the FMCSA report said.
The investigation into DND International was launched after one of their drivers, Renato Velasquez, was charged with violating federal trucking regulations and causing a fatal Illinois Tollway accident. That accident left one Tollway worker dead and a state trooper seriously injured.
According to the Tribune, the FMCSA examined log books from seven drivers including Velasquez’s and found all of seven routinely falsified their logs books.
After the fatal accident in late January, Velasquez told police he had been driving over 12 hours that day after getting only 3 ½ hours of sleep the night before. Under federal hours-of-service rules, truckers can only be behind the wheel for a maximum of 11 hours in a 24-hour period. Drivers are required to have a 10-hour break in between driving shifts in order to reduce fatigued driving accidents.
The attorney representing DND International, David LaPorte, said the company would like the ban to be lifted and have taken steps to assure drivers are complying with hours-of-service rules by obtaining electronic log books.
LaPorte said the company was unaware that Velasquez had been on the road for such long hours.
The FMCSA has long pushed trucking companies to utilize electronic log books, but have met with resistance. Currently, many trucking companies use written log books which are for obvious reasons easy to falsify.
DND can have their operating license reinstated once they submit a plan that shows they are complying with safety regulations.
Last month, Velasquez pleaded not guilty to 10 charges which included driving a commercial vehicle while impaired and fatigued, driving beyond the maximum number of hours, four counts of falsifying his driver log books, failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Just a day after he pleaded not guilty the family of the man who was killed by Velasquez filed and wrongful death lawsuit against him and DND International. The family of the trooper who was injured also filed a civil suit.