Previously shutdown trucker's small fleet ordered OOS

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, June 3, 2024:

Previously shut-down N.J. trucker’s small fleet shut down

The one-truck operation of New Jersey-based truck driver Gurpreet Singh, who was shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in April, has also been shut down by the agency.

Singh was shut down after he rear-ended another vehicle, left the scene, was later found with a bottle labeled “vodka” in his truck and ordered out of service. He then violated that out-of-service order and operated his truck later that same day. Prior to that incident, he also had a previous run-in with police where he was found to be over the legal limit for alcohol impairment.

Following that imminent hazard order, FMCSA investigated Singh’s company, 1 Noor Trucking, and found it “to be egregiously noncompliant with multiple federal safety regulations.” Those include:

  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing
  • Commercial Driver’s License Standards -- Requirements and Penalties, Driving of CMVs, and Hours of Service of Drivers

The investigation also revealed that on March 22, 2024, while operating his CMV on Interstate 78 in New Jersey, Singh was stopped after failing to maintain his lane. After failing a field sobriety test, Singh was arrested and a probable cause search of his CMV revealed four open vodka bottles. Singh is charged in New Jersey with use of alcohol, a prohibited controlled substance; driving while intoxicated; prohibition of an open, unsealed alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle; reckless driving; unsafe lane change, and following too close.

FMCSA’s Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service Order states that “1 Noor Trucking, Inc. lacks effective safety management controls to ensure its drivers operate CMVs safely. The cumulative violations of the FMCSRs significantly increase the likelihood of death or serious injury to 1 Noor Trucking, Inc.’s drivers and the motoring public and establishes an imminent hazard if not discontinued immediately.”

Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service Order may result in civil penalties of up to $33,252 for each violation. 1 Noor Trucking, Inc. may also be assessed civil penalties of at least $13,300 for providing transportation in interstate commerce without operating authority registration and up to $18,758 for operating a CMV in interstate commerce without USDOT number registration. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.

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[Related: FMCSA shuts down driver for multiple alcohol violations]

FMCSA looking to gather feedback on towing transparency

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced it will host a public meeting in June to gather feedback from the trucking and towing industries on current industry practices regarding the disclosure of towing fees to the truck owners, and whether the owner is made aware of costs and fees prior to the tow.

The meeting will be held June 21 from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern. The meeting will be held at the DOT Headquarters Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Those interested in attending this public meeting in person should register here by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on June 11. There will be room for 50 people at the in-person meeting, and there also will be a virtual option. Those interested in filing comments ahead of the meeting can do so here.

In a Federal Register notice published Friday, May 31, FMCSA cited a Federal Trade Commission notice of proposed rulemaking from November, titled “Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees,” “which would prohibit unfair or deceptive practices relating to fees for goods or services, specifically, misrepresenting the total costs of goods and services by omitting mandatory fees from advertised prices and misrepresenting the nature and purpose of fees,” FMCSA said.

[Related: New Mississippi law cracks down on predatory towing]

The agency submitted comments in support of the proposal, noting that it believes the rule could “significantly benefit” its regulated community, particularly in relation to predatory towing practices.

FMCSA acknowledged that predatory towing often occurs in nonconsensual towing situations where a truck is towed without the owner’s permission. “Predatory towing companies can use their possession of the vehicle as leverage to price gouge and otherwise prey upon CMV owners and operators who are in no position to push back,” the agency said.

FMCSA’s upcoming public meeting “is intended for interested parties, including motor carriers and representatives of towing and recovery service providers to discuss common trends in invoicing in commercial towing circumstances, with the aim of learning about trends in particular regions or in particular types of tows,” FMCSA said. The notice added that “[t]o the extent that tow truck companies are charging legitimate fees, those fees should be transparent and well-communicated.”

“FMCSA intends for this meeting to serve as a forum for diverse stakeholders to interact and identify fees and practices that are legitimate and necessary to keep the roads clear of disabled vehicles, while establishing best practices to prevent rogue industry participants from engaging in predatory behavior by charging unfair or deceptive fees,” the agency concluded.

[Related: Predatory towing: How can fleets avoid becoming victims?]

C.H. Robinson recognizes top carriers

C.H. Robinson last week announced the winners of its annual Carrier of the Year Awards, which are selected from the company’s network of 450,000 contract carriers on its platform.

This year’s celebration recognizes 24 exceptional carriers that stood out for their operational excellence including adoption of technology to enhance efficiencies, growth in the volume of freight hauled with C.H. Robinson, and resiliency amidst a challenging market, the company said. This year’s standouts include truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL) and intermodal carriers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. 

“Over the past year and beyond, the truck driving community has been resilient in overcoming different challenges, learning to adapt and persevere in the face of adversity, which is a testament to their strength and determination,” said Michael Castagnetto, President, North American Surface Transportation, C.H. Robinson. “We’re excited to celebrate these outstanding carriers in person to pay tribute to how important they are to us and the economy. Looking ahead, we will continue to introduce innovative ways for carriers to succeed in all business cycles, including offerings that enable them to quickly book freight, get paid quickly, leverage the latest technology and receive support from our dedicated experts.”

The 2024 Carrier of the Year Winners include:

  • ABR Transport Inc. – Sacramento, California
  • Acme Truck Line Inc. – Gretna, Louisiana
  • Barrera’s Express – South Gate, California
  • CRST – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Darrough Transportation Inc. – Beech Grove, Indiana
  • Day To Day Logistics Inc. – Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Estes Express – Richmond, Virginia
  • Gabriela Transport Services – Kitchener, Ontario, Canada 
  • Garesp – Phoenix, Arizona
  • GL Logistics - Apodaca, Nuevo León, Mexico
  • McGuire Transportation Inc. – Temple, Texas
  • Old Dominion Freight Line – Thomasville, North Carolina 
  • Pahoa Express Inc – Clinton Township, Michigan
  • Paveway Express – Greenville, South Carolina
  • RBX Inc. – Strafford, Missouri
  • Rodrial USA LLC – Houston, Texas
  • Skyline Fleet Inc. – Stockton, California
  • Southeastern Freight Lines – Lexington, South Carolina 
  • Sunrise Trucking Inc. – French Camp, California
  • Takata Trans Inc. – Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania
  • Timmons Transit – Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Transco Lines, Inc. – Russellville, Arkansas
  • Trucks For You Inc. – Muskogee, Oklahoma
  • Zana Transportation Services Inc. – Tucson, Arizona