Federal regulators shut down Texas-based motor carrier Demco Express for serious safety violations, the sixth unsafe trucking operator closed in recent months.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered Demco and its owner, Denny Mekenye, off the road Friday, calling the carrier an “imminent hazard.”
Demco exhibited a “flagrant disregard” for federal truck safety rules, the FMCSA said in its out-of-service order, particularly federal driver hours-of-service rules.
“Falsification of drivers’ RODS (logbooks) at Demco is so severe, Demco has no way to know how many hours its drivers have been driving,” the agency said in its order.
The problem went beyond false logbooks. In the last 12 months, the FMCSA said, 10 Demco truck drivers were placed out of service for not being licensed to drive.
“At the time of this investigation, one Demco driver was driving with at least four active suspensions on his license,” the agency said. FMCSA data show Demco had 72 drivers.
The Arlington, Texas-based company came to the FMCSA’s notice because of extremely high — or poor — Compliance, Safety, Accountability program scores.
Demco exceeded thresholds requiring FMCSA intervention in five of seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or BASICs, the FMCSA order said.
Demco had a 97.1 percent score in unsafe driving, 99.4 in fatigued driving, 99.8 in driver fitness, 81.2 in drugs and alcohol and 97.1 in vehicle maintenance.
The scores are built on a monthly basis using real-time violation data from states that feeds the CSA Safety Measurement System, the core engine of the program.
Although many truckers and shippers are unhappy with the methodology behind those BASIC scores, the scores are helping the FMCSA identify unsafe carriers.
In May alone, the FMCSA shut down BM&L Trucking and affiliate company IDM Transportation of Alabama as well as Judson Mobley Logging of Georgia.
The BASIC scores also propelled a surge in the number of carriers with “conditional” safety ratings, as the FMCSA identified companies for safety audits.
From February 2011 through April 2012, the number of carriers with a conditional safety rating jumped by 1,156, or 22.8 percent, according to QualifiedCarriers.
The risk management company said there were 6,226 active for-hire carriers with conditional safety ratings in April, and 30,665 carriers rated “satisfactory.”
However, nearly 130,000 active for-hire carriers had no rating at all, the company said. And 67 percent of the total 166,810 active carriers had no CSA score.