Federal authorities have ordered a Washington-based trucking company and one of its drivers to immediately cease all in-state and intrastate operations after finding them to pose an imminent threat to public safety.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that the orders were given to Even Flo Logistics LLC of Tumwater, Washington, and Even Flo Logistics’ truck driver Shawn Roberts, who holds a Washington State commercial driver’s license.
According to the FMCSA, in August 2017 the Washington State Patrol’s Motor Carrier Safety Division conducted a compliance investigation of Even Flo Logistics. That investigation was prompted by multiple roadside inspections in several states since January 2017 that revealed repeated serious safety violations.
Among the serious violations for which NHTSA cited Even Flo Logistics were:
- Failure to comply with federal rules requiring commercial carriers to make sure their drivers are properly licensed to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Investigators found on at least two occasions that Mr. Roberts was operating on a commercial driver’s license learner’s permit only. Even Flo knew about this violation but allowed Mr. Roberts to continue driving.
- When Mr. Roberts was properly licensed but had his license suspended, Even Flo let him drive its trucks, the FMCSA said.
- The trucking company also failed to ensure its drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) rules aimed at preventing commercial driver fatigue. In 12 roadside inspections, Mr. Roberts was cited for HOS violations 10 times.
- Even Flo also failed to properly screen its drivers for drugs and alcohol prior to hiring them, and failed to comply with other drug- and alcohol-testing requirements, such as properly testing drivers randomly and after accidents.
FMCSA said that based on violations discovered during the Washington State Patrol investigation, it gave Even Flo an unsatisfactory final federal safety rating and ordered it to cease all operations starting Oct. 10, 2017. However, Even Flo continued to operate commercial trucks on at least two occasions in violation of the federal order.
The FMCSA imminent hazard/out-of-service order to Even Flo Logistics stated that the carrier’s ongoing noncompliance with federal safety regulations, combined with the company’s demonstrated lack of safety management controls “…significantly increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to its drivers and the motoring public and establishes an imminent hazard.”
As for Mr. Roberts, the FMCSA essentially said that he had no business driving a large commercial truck. Some of the violations for which he was cited include operating a commercial truck in violation of conditions of his CDL learner’s permit; operating a commercial truck without a valid CDL; being on-duty while under the influence of a narcotic drug/amphetamine; and possession of an alocoholic beverage while on-duty or driving.
The violations inspectors found led to Mr. Roberts being placed out-of-service at a rate more than 13 times the national average for commercial drivers.
Mr. Roberts is also facing drug-related criminal charges in both Arizona and Wyoming.
Since January 2017, while operating a commercial truck, Mr. Roberts has been involved in four crashes. According to the FMCSA, in May 2017, he posted a photograph on social media of a 12-year-old operating a CMV.
In July 2017, Mr. Roberts posted a photograph on social media of a clamp attached to the gas pedal along with the caption, “When your cruise control brakes [sic] the fix,” the FMCSA said.
The FMCSA imminent hazard out-of-service order to Roberts stated that his “…. blatant disregard of [federal safety regulations] and continued disregard for the safety of the motoring public …. substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or to the motoring public.”