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U.S. Department of Transportation Shuts Down Indiana Trucking Firm

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American Government Trucking

U.S. Department of Transportation Shuts Down Indiana Trucking Firm

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
August 30, 2000

Wednesday, August 30, 2000
Contact: Dave Longo
Telephone: 202-366-0456
FMCSA 15-00

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it has shut down an Indiana trucking firm for allowing its drivers to falsify their logbooks, which are meant to record drive time and rest time, thereby violating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) dealing with hours-of-service (HOS).

The FMCSA considered these motor carrier violations serious enough to pose an "immediate" hazard to public safety.

"Our number one job is to save lives by reducing the risk of fatalities and injuries involving large trucks," Clyde J. Hart Jr., FMCSA acting deputy administrator, said. "We will continue to identify unsafe motor carriers and drivers and take strict enforcement action against those carriers who refuse to assume personal responsibility for their role in highway safety."

Russman Transportation, Inc., a motor carrier located in Jeffersonville, Ind., was issued an Operations Out-of-Service Order (OOSO) and ordered to cease all interstate commercial vehicle operations. FMCSA was assisted in this enforcement activity by the Indiana Department of Revenue, which suspended Russman’s vehicle registrations, and the Indiana State Police, who physically removed the license plates from the commercial vehicles on the carrier’s site.

Indiana is a member of FMCSA’s Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM) program. Under PRISM, motor carriers found to be unfit to operate may have their vehicle registrations suspended for the period of time the carrier’s OOSO is in effect.

All registrations of the commercial trailers assigned to Russman Transportation are suspended until the OOSO is rescinded by the FMCSA. In order to have the OOSO rescinded, Russman Transportation must submit and have FMCSA accept, a safety action plan that describes the actions the company will take to comply with the FMCSRs and operate safely.

The order was issued to Nahum (Mike) Matsa, owner of Russman Transportation, because drivers exceeded the maximum number of operating hours allowed and falsified their drivers logs in order to avoid recording their true hours of operation. Russman Transportation currently employs 44 drivers.

Driver fatigue is widely recognized by government, industry stakeholders, and highway safety advocates as a serious highway safety problem. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that approximately 800 lives are lost and more than 19,000 people are injured in fatigue-related truck and bus crashes annually.

The Department, on April 25, 2000, proposed to improve highway safety by changing the current hours-of-service rule, which regulates the number of hours drivers of big trucks and buses can operate without resting. This rule was written in 1935, modified in 1937 and revised in 1962 by the now-defunct Interstate Commerce Commission. Little has been done to update it since. In the meantime, the number of trucks and the vehicle miles they travel have soared.

The FMCSA continues to seek comments on this hours-of-service rulemaking. It recently extended until Dec. 15, 2000 the comment period for this rulemaking. Comments on this proposal may be sent to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket FMCSA-97-2350, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. The proposal may be viewed on the Internet after searching at http://dms.dot.gov/. Comments also may be submitted electronically at this site .

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