FMCSA shuts down carrier for ‘widespread, serious violations’ hours violations

Click here to see local news coverage of Velasquez’ case.Click here to see local news coverage of Velasquez’ case.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it has issued an imminent hazard shut down order to DND International, ordering the carrier to cease operations after federal investigators discovered the carrier “had committed widespread, serious violations” of the agency’s hours-of-service rules, the agency said.

The shut down order comes as a follow-up to the agency’s February-issued shut down order for driver Renato V. Velasquez, who — after a deadly crash — was found to have been on-duty for 26 hours, resting only three and a half to five and a half hours. As noted in CCJ‘s February report on Velasquez, however, local news outlets reported Velasquez could have been on-duty and mostly driving for 35 straight hours.

Velasquez, who FMCSA says also was falsifying his logs, was charged with multiple felonies after he crashed into two fully illuminated stationary vehicles on the side of the road, killing an Illinois Tollway worker, whose vehicle had an activated warning arrow, and injuring a state trooper, whose car had its emergency lights on.

Velasquez drove for DND International. FMCSA investigated the carrier following the accident, comparing toll transaction data with logbook data from seven drivers for the carriers. The agency found that in all seven instances, the drivers had falsified their logs, which FMCSA says “revealed an unmistakable, dangerous pattern of serious falsifications that substantially increase the likelihood of serious injury or death to [the carrier’s] drivers and the motoring public.”

DND is the ninth carrier shut down by the agency this year. FMCSA has also shut down four drivers.

“The constant focus of every driver, particularly operators of very large commercial vehicles, must be on safety,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.  “Companies and commercial drivers that knowingly jeopardize public safety by disregarding common-sense regulations that prevent driver fatigue will not be tolerated and will be banned from continuing their dangerous and illegal behavior.”