Bad brakes, shady practices lead feds to shut down Cobb trucking group

Credit: John Carrington

Credit: John Carrington

There were Georgia truckers — some on controlled substances — driving trucks with bad brakes, worn-out tires or missing parts crisscrossing the country, federal investigators found.

On Tuesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced its order for Acworth-based Daya Trucking to cease all operations and report the locations of all its trucks.

"Daya's complete and utter lack of compliance ... substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for its drivers and the motoring public if the operations of Daya are not discontinued," the FMCSA wrote in its Imminent Hazard Operations Out-Of-Service Order.

Federal transportation records show that the company has had one crash resulting in an injury and no fatal collisions in the last 24 months. Those records also show that Daya has 39 commercial hauling trucks and 44 drivers.

Federal investigators wrote that Daya is a hazard to the public because of its “widespread noncompliance with Federal safety regulations ... evasion of those regulations and falsification of records,” according to the feds.

Daya did not respond to phone calls and emails for comment Thursday.

In the past 12 months, the feds said, 46 percent of Daya vehicles were found to have safety issues like exposed tire fabric, defective brakes and broken or missing axle position components.

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Some truckers for the company drove with suspended CDL licenses, said the federal department of transportation. From Jan. 1, 2018 to Feb. 28, there were 4,802 unaccounted driving hours because truckers drove with loose or unplugged monitoring equipment.

After reviewing the company, investigators found 42 percent of Daya truckers submitted false driving logs.

The company also has a problem with testing its drivers for drugs and alcohol. The feds found that four drivers tested positive for a controlled substance.

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The company’s trouble began in 2017 when it was known by a different name, Ekam Truck Line. After an investigation last year, Ekam agreed to a consent order to comply with federal regulations.

“Ekam, however, failed to comply with virtually all provisions in the consent order and instead evaded the consent order by applying for registration as Daya,” the feds wrote.

Georgia business records show Daya formed in June 2017 and is registered to an Old Cherokee Street address in Acworth.

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Trucking companies who change their names to skirt discipline are known in the trucking industry as "chameleon carriers," according to attorneys and news reports.

If Daya wants to keep on trucking, it must put into place a slew of new safeguards and inform the government, according to the federal agency.

The Tuesday announcement said Daya could face civil fines and the agency "may refer this matter for criminal prosecution."

Any criminal charges would come from the Justice Department or the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general, said Duane DeBruyne.

DeBruyne is the spokesman for FMCSA, the agency that shut down Daya, but said he wouldn’t comment on the case specifically.

He said his office issues about a couple dozen of these imminent hazard orders a year.

Regarding chameleon carriers, DeBruyne said there is a vetting process during which many reincarnated businesses are weeded out. He declined to comment on Daya’s vetting process.

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