FMCSA shuts down Florida-based small fleet following fatal crash, 'egregious' safety violations

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022:

FMCSA shuts down Florida-based carrier following fatal crash, ‘egregious’ safety violations

A West Palm Beach, Florida-based trucking company has been effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration following a fatal crash and subsequent safety investigation. Professional Marine Hauler’s LLC was served a federal Imminent Hazard Operations Out-of-Service Order on Jan. 14.

On Nov. 9, 2021, the two-truck fleet was involved in a crash resulting in two deaths and nine injuries. FMCSA’s subsequent investigation found “egregious levels of non-compliance and a complete failure of the carrier and its owners to implement any aspect of a safety management plan,” FMCSA said in a press release.

The agency said the failure resulted in the fatal crash, which was caused by a complete trailer brake system failure.

“The agency’s compliance investigation found Professional Marine Hauler’s and its principals, Claudia Angelique Abreu and Ariel Martinez, operating CMVs with a total disregard for safety,” FMCSA added. “A pattern of non-compliance was noted in the operation of several motor carriers operated by the carrier principals, including violations documented during roadside inspections and failed new entrant safety audits.”

According to FMCSA, Abreu and Martinez continued to operate equipment after it had been placed out-of-service.

The two company principals showed a total disregard for vehicle maintenance, driver qualifications, controlled substances and alcohol testing, hours of service and oversize/overweight limits for CMVs, according to FMCSA.

Other companies the Abreu and Martinez were connected with also affected by the order include A&M Marina Service Corp., A&W Tow & Transport Inc., Los Guerreros C Towing, and Jam Transportation Towing and Moving Corp.

Truck tonnage increased to close out 2021

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1% in December after rising 0.5% in November. In December, the index equaled 114.7 compared with 113.5 in November.

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The American Trucking Associations' seasonally-adjusted For Hire Trucking Index increased 1% in December.The American Trucking Associations' seasonally-adjusted For Hire Trucking Index increased 1% in December.“December’s gain was the fifth straight totaling 4.4%,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “In December, tonnage reached the highest level since March, but it was still 2.7% below the pre-pandemic high. This is likely due to the fact ATA’s data is dominated by contract freight. Contractor truckload carriers operated fewer trucks in 2021 compared with 2020 and it is difficult to haul significantly more tonnage with fewer trucks. But overall, we have seen a nice trend up that is reflective of a still growing goods-economy.” 

Compared with December 2020, the SA index rose 1.4%, which was the fourth straight year-over-year gain. In November, the index was up 1.6% from a year earlier. In 2021, compared with the average in 2020, tonnage was up 0.3%. In 2020, tonnage was off 4% compared with 2019.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 113.9 in December, 0.2% above the November level (113.8).

In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight. 

ATA names 2022-2023 America’s Road Team Captains

ATA named its 22 America's Road Team Captains for 2022-2023.ATA named its 22 America's Road Team Captains for 2022-2023.The American Trucking Associations on Wednesday named 22 truck drivers the 2022-2023 America’s Road Team Captains, who will serve as trucking industry ambassadors, spreading the message of safe driving and teaching about the industry and its opportunities.

Captains, with support from their companies, dedicate a few days each month to attend industry events, speak at schools, or meet policymakers on behalf of the trucking industry. The new Captains will tour the country in ATA's Interstate One Image Truck, an American flag emblazoned with a brand new 2021 Volvo VNL 760, featuring a state-of-the-art truck driving simulator and mobile classroom.

This year’s class includes drivers from 13 companies, 17 states and drivers with more than 564 years of experience and 45,774,455 miles of accident-free driving.

The new America's Road Team Captains are:

  • Bob Bramwell, ABF Freight System (CCJ Top 250, No. 24), Centerview, Missouri 
  • Michael Buck, Yellow (No. 5), Moore, Oklahoma 
  • Teddy Butler, ABF Freight System, Hampton, Georgia 
  • Kevin Byrnes, United Parcel Service (No. 2), Sparta, New Jersey 
  • Jesus Davila, Werner Enterprises (No. 13), San Antonio, Texas 
  • Ken Duncan, Walmart Transportation, Gorham, Maine 
  • James Ellis, Grammer Logistics, Erwin, North Carolina 
  • Lalo Fernandez, FedEx Freight (No. 1), Battle Ground, Oregon 
  • Richard Frazer, Yellow, Rockford, Illinois 
  • Charlie Fuller, FedEx Freight, Pembroke Pines, Florida 
  • Ritch Fundell, FedEx Freight, Tonica, Illinois 
  • Salvador Gonzalez, TForce Freight (No. 7), Ocala, Florida 
  • Darrien Henderson, J&M Tank Lines Inc. (No. 217), Mobile, Alabama 
  • Gina Jones, Werner Enterprises, Peoria, Arizona 
  • Dean Key, Ruan Transportation Management Systems (No. 32), Primghar, Iowa 
  • Glen Allen Kirk, Old Dominion Freight Line (No. 10), Franklin, Indiana 
  • Jeff Rose, Yellow, Creston, Ohio 
  • Ron Round, Pottle’s Transportation LLC, Enfield, Maine 
  • David Schroeder, FedEx Freight, Bellaire, Ohio 
  • Eric Stein, Werner Enterprises Inc., Canajoharie, New York 
  • PJ Singh, Penske Logistics (No. 12), Stockton, California 
  • Derrick Thorpe, TForce Freight, Rahway, New Jersey