The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered Maryland trucker Gunthers Transport to shut down, saying numerous hours of service and other safety violations made the company an "imminent hazard" on highways.
Gunthers drivers exceeded the 11-hour daily driving limit and the carrier’s trucks were in such poor condition they were a high crash risk, the FMCSA said. The Harmans, Md.-based company could be fined $16,000 per day if it continues operations, and it may face as yet unspecified civil or criminal penalties.
The FMCSA issued the out-of-service order Nov. 8 and announced the action Wednesday. The out-of-service order followed what the agency said was an exhaustive review of the company’s safety record that included an on-site investigation in October.
The FMCSA said Gunthers either required or allowed its drivers to exceed hours of service limits, even driving beyond 14 hours after the start of their workday. Gunthers also required or permitted drivers to falsify logbooks and the carrier did not require drivers to complete pre-trip vehicle inspections, the FMCSA said.
Over the past year, Gunthers has been involved in seven recorded accidents that caused four injuries, including a fatal crash in August, the FMCSA said.
This isn’t the first time Gunthers has tangled with the government over safety standards. The company was found guilty of falsifying logbooks in 1995 and its president, Mark Gunthers, was convicted on perjury and fraud charges, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The FMCSA said the company was subject to two compliance reviews in 2008 and two earlier reviews in 2011 before the agency completed its last review.