Personal Injury

Feds order trucking company to install recorders after falsifying records

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered JBS Carriers of Greeley, Colorado, to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) in its entire fleet of 700 trucks for serious violations of federal regulations designed to keep truckers and the roads they travel safe.

The order to install the devices comes in response to a comprehensive investigation by FMCSA’s Western Service Center, which found JBS in serious violation of federal hours-of-service (HOS) rules and commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements.

FMCSA cited the company for 102 counts of falsifying the hours-of-service records of their drivers and three counts of allowing drivers with a suspended, revoked, or canceled commercial driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle. The findings indicate the company displays a disregard for the law as well as the the safety of the public and its own drivers.

In addition to installing the electronic devices in all of its trucks, JBS must also train all current and future drivers how to use the EOBRs and develop a safety management system that incorporates the electronic data into the drivers’ hours-of-service oversight.

“FMCSA will continue to use every resource at its disposal to pursue carriers that jeopardize road safety by failing to adhere to federal safety regulations,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro in a statement about the JBS fines.

“Safety is our highest priority,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will not tolerate commercial carriers that put people at risk by placing unsafe, unlicensed drivers behind the wheel and evading hours-of-service rules.”

Electronic on-board recorders are devices attached to commercial vehicles that automatically record the number of hours drivers spend operating the vehicle. Driving hours are regulated by federal hours-of-service rules, which are designed to prevent commercial vehicle-related crashes and fatalities by prescribing on-duty and rest periods for drivers.

JBS faces fines of $81,780 if it fails to comply with the FMCSA directive by March 2011. Divided amongst 700 trucks, the fine amounts to just $116 per vehicle – a fraction of what it would cost the company to buy and install the devices and then train drivers to use them, which could easily generate a bill in the millions.