On June 8, 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered a Wisconsin trucking company, WTSA US Express, to cease all of its trucking and transportation operations. After a series of intensive investigations on the operations of WTSA US Express, FMCSA found that the trucking company was an “imminent hazard to public safety.” The company operated across state lines and their operations also posed a safety hazard for Missouri drivers.
FMCSA conducted an extensive investigation on the operations of WTSA US Express in the past several months. Investigators found that WTSA US Express violated several federal safety requirements that all trucking companies operating in the United States must follow. The report noted that WTSA US Express’s management could not comply even with basic safety management controls despite prior government interventions.
FMCSA first noted that WTSA US Express did not monitor the hours of service for its drivers. The federal requirements on a semi-truck or large truck driver’s “hours of service” is important because it limits the maximum amount of hours a driver can operate a vehicle in one particular shift. It has also required mandatory rest and sleeping hours in a driver’s shift. Disregarding the hours of service requirements could result in fatigued drivers operating large trucks and potentially causing semi-truck accidents. WTSA US Express also did not follow the FMCSA’s mandatory requirements for employee substance and alcohol abuse testing. It also did not screen prospective employees for possible alcohol and substance abuse. Alcohol and substance abuse is dangerous when driving normal vehicles, but could be catastrophic when a substance abuser is operating a large truck. WTSA US Express also did not follow driver qualification requirements in order to actually ascertain whether its employees were qualified to operate large and semi-trucks. This has allowed some drivers to operate without valid medical certificates. This is problematic because health issues can potentially interfere with operating a motor vehicle.
One driver of the company was issued a cease-operations order by the FMCSA in the past. This driver was cited for carrying alcohol in his vehicle and cited for consuming alcohol within 4 hours before driving his vehicle. This driver has since failed to comply with the FMCSA’s order and continued to act in an employee capacity for WTSA US Express.
Due to these ongoing violations, the FMCSA deemed that WTSA US Express posed as an imminent safety hazard for all motorists. The FMCSA deemed this closure, in addition to the past several trucking company closures over the past few months, to be a part of their “aggressive safety enforcement efforts.” Such companies like WTSA US Express are threats to all motorists, including Missouri motorists. Failing to follow safety requirements could result in Missouri semi-truck accidents with serious or fatal injuries. And like WTSA US Express, these companies try to operate even after prior warnings.