A small, Massachusetts trucking company’s “continual and blatant disregard” for federal safety regulations has earned a shut-down decree from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
FMCSA ordered Lowell, MA-based Flavio Borges Prado, doing business as Golden Eagle Delivery, to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate operations after a federal investigation found the carrier to pose an imminent hazard to public safety. Flavio Borges Prado was served the federal order on June 9.
As part of FMCSA’s review of the company, safety inspections were conducted on six of Flavio Borges Prado’s seven vehicles (the seventh vehicle was not inspected because it had been in a crash and was inoperable). Out-of-service safety violations were discovered in every vehicle inspected, the FMCSA report emphasizes. These safety defects included worn, leaking, welded or missing brake, steering and/or suspension components.
During the investigation, Flavio Borges Prado was unable to produce records demonstrating that the company had a vehicle maintenance program of any kind.
In April of this year, FMCSA investigators began an investigation after the company initially failed to submit to a New Entrant Safety Audit as required by federal regulations. The company had received an FMCSA order to cease operations, which was subsequently rescinded after the carrier submitted to the New Entrant Safety Audit.
Later in the month, while the federal investigation was ongoing, the parking brake on one of Flavio Borges Prado’s trucks failed causing the vehicle to roll down a hill, colliding into a residential housing structure injuring the driver and causing significant damages to the property. One month later, a second Flavio Borges Prado vehicle again experienced a brake failure causing it to break-down in a roadway travel lane and requiring removal by a tow-truck.
During the federal compliance review investigation, FMCSA safety investigators found the company to be in violation of multiple federal safety regulations including:
- Failing to ensure that its vehicles were regularly inspected, maintained and repaired and met minimum safety standards
- Failing to require that drivers conduct pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections and submit reports of safety defects to the company in order to make repairs; and
- Dispatching vehicles with known safety defects that had been discovered during roadside inspections without making the required repairs.
FMCSA’s order states Flavio Borges Prado’s “continual and blatant disregard” for federal safety regulations, including operating vehicles declared out-of-service based upon unsafe conditions, and repeated roadside citations for brake and other safety issues, “substantially increases the risk of death or serious injury if not discontinued immediately.”
Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in a penalty of up to $25,000, operating without necessary authority may result in a fine of not less than $10,000, and operating without a USDOT number may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000. A violation of this order may also result in a criminal penalty, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year. FMCSA is also considering civil penalties for the violations discovered during the investigation and may refer this matter for criminal prosecution.
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed online.