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I-75 accidents prompt shutdown of Georgia trucking firm

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A truck leaked canola oil for miles along I-75 in May, causing multiple accidents.
The truck was leaking canola oil along Interstate 75. But when the driver told the trucking company, he was given clear instructions: Keep on trucking. Oil slickened the interstate for miles in Bibb County, causing four separate vehicle crashes as the truck headed back to Atlanta last month. Even police vehicles dispatched to the accidents slid on the road. Finally, law enforcement officers tracking the spill caught up with the driver and arrested him, a federal investigation found.
Now, a federal agency has ordered the immediate shutdown of the company, Prudential Carriers, based in Hampton. The company poses an imminent hazard to public safety, says the order by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The federal investigation uncovered “widespread regulatory violations demonstrating Prudential’s repeated and egregious non-compliance with (federal safety regulations) and a management philosophy indifferent to motor carrier safety,” according to the federal order.  “Prudential’s operations are reckless, with almost nonexistent safety management oversight of its vehicles, drivers, and operations.” Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Vehicles were not systematically inspected, repaired and maintained; the company failed to ensure its drivers complied with federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigued driving; it allowed unqualified drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle; and it failed to comply with mandated random alcohol and controlled substances testing of its drivers, according to the federal agency. The order also accuses Prudential of falsifying records..

Such violations have led to several accidents during the past nine months, FMCSA said. Among them, last October a Prudential driver pulled over on the right shoulder of I-20 in Douglas County because of overheated brakes, the order states. “While waiting for the brakes to cool, the driver fell asleep and another vehicle collided with the Prudential vehicle. The Prudential driver was cited for parking in a prohibited place.”

Note that Gov. Deal recently said he planned to spend $10 million to improve enforcement of commercial vehicles near Savannah.

Trucks line up at a weigh station near Lithia Springs  (NICK ARROYO/AJC)

Trucks line up at a weigh station near Lithia Springs (NICK ARROYO/AJC)

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