Safety violations lead FMCSA to shut down small Texas carrier

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022:

FMCSA shuts down another Texas-based carrier

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has effectively shut down New Caney, Texas-based 4 Life Transport for numerous safety violations.

On Feb. 7, a driver operating for 4 Life Transport crashed in Utah and was killed. The driver and the truck he was driving, FMCSA said, were previously associated with Adversity Transport, a Houston-based carrier that was shut down by FMCSA in January.

An FMCSA review of 4 Life Transport, initiated the day its connection to Adversity Transport was discovered, found the carrier was “egregiously noncompliant” with multiple safety regulations, including: Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing (49 CFR Part 382); Commercial Driver’s License Standards (49 CFR Part 383); Driver Qualification (49 CFR Part 391); Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles (49 CFR Part 392); Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operations (49 CFR Part 393); Hours of Service of Drivers (49 CFR Part 395); and vehicle Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance (49 CFR Part 396).

According to FMCSA, 4 Life Transport’s vehicle out-of-service rate is 100%, compared to a national average of 21%, and its driver out-of-service rate is 67%, compared to a national average of 6%. 

“4 Life Transport fails to ensure its vehicles are safe, and multiple roadside inspections revealed vehicle maintenance problems including unsafe tires,” the agency said. “The company also fails to ensure its drivers are qualified and drive safely – for example, its drivers have been cited for speeding and driving with a suspended license – and it fails to ensure its drivers comply with hours of service limits and recording requirements.”

Attempts to reach 4 Life Transport went unanswered Wednesday.

Failing to comply with the Federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $28,142 for each violation. 4 Life Transport may also be assessed civil penalties of not less than $11,256 for providing transportation in interstate commerce without operating authority registration, and up to $15,876 for operating a CMV in interstate commerce without USDOT Number registration. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties, the agency added.

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EPA working to develop next phase of truck emissions regulations

The next phase of federal truck emissions regulations developed by the Environmental Protection Agency will focus largely on nitrogen emissions as opposed to the focus on carbon emissions of previous rulemakings.

EPA’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative was announced in November 2018, and a proposed rulemaking is expected to be published this year. While not confirmed by the EPA, a New York Times article published Tuesday suggests that the new regulations will be similar to NOx rules established in California by the state’s Heavy-Duty Omnibus Regulation.

New requirements are expected to apply to truck makers, as per usual for EPA emissions regulations, yet recent mainstream reporting in some ways implied that, by following California’s model for emissions regulations, certain in-use diesel might be affected. Asked directly whether this was the case, EPA did not answer the question. 

“EPA is working on a proposed rule to reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicles and engines,” an EPA spokesperson offered in a statement to CCJ Wednesday. “These standards are currently subject to interagency review, and we don’t have any updates to share on timing.”

C.H. Robinson partners with Waymo for autonomous runs in Texas

C.H. Robinson and Waymo Via, the trucking and local delivery unit of autonomous driving technology company Waymo, have formed a long-term strategic partnership to mutually explore the practical application of autonomous driving technology in logistics and supply chains.

The partnership combines the benefits of Waymo’s autonomous driving technology, the Waymo Driver, with C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere connected logistics platform.

The collaboration will focus, initially, on running multiple pilots in the Dallas-Houston transportation lane, with Waymo Via autonomous trucks hauling C.H. Robinson’s customer freight.

During and after the pilots, the companies will collaborate to shape the future development and expansion of autonomous driving technology.  

“We are excited to partner with Waymo Via to explore how autonomous driving technology can help bring increased capacity and sustainability into our logistics strategies,” said Chris O’Brien, Chief Commercial Officer at C.H. Robinson. “Together, we are going to harness this emerging freight technology and its potential on behalf of customers and carriers. We believe there is a real opportunity to bring our scale and information advantage to bear to help develop transportation solutions for them and their ability to participate in and benefit from AV. C.H. Robinson is also best positioned to represent the role of drivers and small and mid-size carriers in a more autonomous future.”