Federal authorities ordered a Georgia commercial trucking company to cease all in-state and out-of-state activities after discovering the company was a reincarnation of a trucking firm that had been under a consent order to improve its compliance with safety regulations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that Daya Trucking of Acworth, Georgia, is an imminent hazard to public safety. The agency said it started investigating Daya after receiving information that it “may be a reincarnated and/or an affiliated entity of Ekam Truck Line LLC.”
Last year, Ekam Truck Line entered into a consent order with the FMCSA requiring it to take numerous measures to boost its compliance with federal safety regulations and upgrade its safety rating from unsatisfactory to conditional. The order also prohibited Ekam and its owners or managers from applying for a USDOT/FMCSA registration as another commercial trucking firm under a new name.
Ekam, however, failed to comply with nearly all provisions in the consent order and evaded the requirements by applying for a USDOT/FMCSA registration as Daya Trucking, LLC.
On March 24, the FMCSA placed Ekam out of service, then merged and consolidated the federal safety and enforcement records of Daya with Ekam.
The FMCSA said its investigation of Daya uncovered numerous serious safety violations that threaten the safety of others, including:
- Failure to monitor its drivers to ensure their compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) rules designed to prevent fatigued driving. Daya didn’t review its drivers’ records for falsification, completeness, accuracy, or violations.
According to the FMCSA, Daya uses a non-compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) that allows drivers to manipulate their driving records. In a two-month period between Jan. 1, 2018 and Feb. 28, 2018, Daya’s AOBRD system recorded 4,802 hours of unidentified driving time. The FMCSA said this mystery time stemmed from drivers unplugging or disabling the recording devices to fake compliance with HOS rules.
- Failure to tests drivers for controlled substances/alcohol prior to hiring and dispatching them. Investigators found Daya allowed seven drivers to operate a commercial truck before receiving negative pre-employment drug tests. Additionally, Daya dispatched four drivers it knew had tested positive for controlled substances.
- Failure to comply with driver qualification requirements, including ensuring drivers were properly licensed or medically qualified to operate a commercial truck. Investigators found instances of five drivers actively driving for Daya without a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or in possession of a suspended CDL.
- Failure to ensure that its vehicles were regularly inspected, maintained, repaired, and met minimum safety standards.
In the past 12 months, Daya vehicles have been placed out-of-service at a rate of 46 percent and cited for inoperable lights, exposed tire fabric, defective brakes, broken or missing axle position components, and oil leaks from hubs.
FMCSA’s investigation found that Daya’s “complete and utter lack of compliance” with federal motor carrier safety regulations and its effort to avoid the 2017 consent order as Ekam Truck Lines “substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for its drivers and the motoring public if the operations of Daya are not discontinued immediately.”
The FMCSA said that Daya will be hit with at least $25,000 in civil penalties for operating commercial trucks without USDOT registration and other violations. The commercial trucking firm also faces $26,126 for each violation of the out-of-service order.