On the evening of Nov. 12, a vehicle crashed into a tractor-trailer as it backed across U.S. 258 near Murfreesboro, N.C., becoming wedged under the truck.
The driver, who was killed, apparently didn’t see the truck, as its visibility was obscured by dirt covering its reflective tape, according to investigators.
The truck, operated by Two Dayes Trucking, should not have been on the road at all. The Murfreesboro company was what regulators call a “reincarnated” carrier.
“On the day of this fatal crash, Two Dayes Trucking was operating in violation of an FMCSA order,” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said on Dec. 13.
The watchdog agency had placed Two Dayes Trucking out of service for failure to permit an FMCSA safety audit. The carrier did not respond to three written requests. What’s more, a new company sprang up called Two Dayes Transport, sharing the same officers, phone numbers and headquarters facilities as Two Dayes Trucking.
Unfortunately, it took the loss of a life and subsequent investigation for regulators to uncover the ruse and move against the carrier and its owners, Henry and Kyle Daye.
The new out-of-service order the FMCSA issued Dec. 13 applies to Dayes as well as any trucking company its owners might try to set up or otherwise control. “If a company’s operations put the lives of the public at risk, we will do everything in our power to shut it down,” FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said in a statement.
Identifying those companies is often difficult, however. In many cases, they are small firms that run under the radar of state and federal officials — until an accident.
New rules put in place and proposed this year are designed to help the FMCSA crack down on motor carriers that attempt to flout federal safety rules. The agency increasingly targets individual managers and owners as well as trucking companies.
The controversial Compliance, Safety, Accountability, or CSA, program has helped the agency hone in on some of the higher-risk carriers and identify “chameleons” by feeding real-time information to its safety management database. But the agency also relies on state police and investigators who follow up accident reports.
The “Two Dayes” companies, which hauled steel and roofing, demonstrated “substantial and flagrant” disregard for federal rules, including vehicle maintenance and driver hours-of-service regulations and qualifications, the FMCSA said.