Decatur trucking firm ordered shut down as imminent hazard

031231 LITHIA SPRINGS-I-20 weigh station near Lithia Springs- Regs are changing as to how long truckers can drive without time off.- a weigh station with trucks in line, to give the idea of who is affected. . (ALL CQ) (NICK ARROYO/STAFF)

Keep On Trucking has been ordered to immediately stop all operations after a federal investigation found that the freight company was placing its drivers and the public at risk of serious injury or death.

Among numerous violations, the Decatur-based company used unlicensed or suspended drivers and operated vehicles with defective brakes, lights or other equipment failures, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The investigation came after a fatal accident in August in Virginia. Company co-owner Dwight Anthony Preddie hit a Jeep in a construction zone on I-95, slamming it into a stopped semi, the federal agency reports. The Jeep driver was killed and a passenger critically injured.

Virginia police found that Preddie was driving with a suspended license in a vehicle that was not insured. He also had been on the road too long, police found, violating a law designed to prevent commercial truck driver fatique.

The federal agency then investigated, finding numerous violations:

  • It had allowed drivers to operate without a valid driver’s license, or with a suspended license, or without a valid medical certificate.
  • During the past year, Keep on Trucking drivers had been cited for numerous violations, including reckless driving and failing to obey traffic-control devices.
  • The company failed to ensure that its vehicles were regularly inspected, maintained and repaired and met minimum safety standards. In the past 12 months, company vehicles had been cited at roadside safety inspections for inoperable or defective brakes, broken or missing axle position components, inoperable lights, and damaged windshields.
  • The company also failed to have the minimum levels of insurance required and failed to have authority to conduct interstate commerce.

Dwight PreddiePreddie, 33, is facing criminal charges in Virginia. He also could face civil and criminal penalties for the federal violations, the Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes.

AJC watchdogs keep an eye on truck safety issues. Click here to read about how the state cut back on its truck inspections.

Mothers of Georgia crash victims have led efforts to improve truck safety. Read more about that by clicking here.




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