A Houston-based trucking company that was put out of business for safety violations but reportedly tried resurrecting itself under a different name has been ordered to cease operating, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced.

The FMCSA on Thursday shut down both Pac Express LLC and Texas Interstate Express LLC after federal officials determined the two companies were related. The carriers were served a federal out-of-service order on Nov. 11, according to a news release.

Texas Interstate Express had 10 trucks and 10 drivers, while Pac Express had seven and five, respectively. 

“[Their] … avoidance of compliance with the [safety regulations] and the out-of-service order substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for your drivers and the motoring public if your operations are not discontinued immediately,” the FMCSA said.

Pac Express began operating in July after the FMCSA began to conduct a compliance investigation of Texas Interstate Express.

“FMCSA had identified Texas Interstate Express for investigation based on the carrier’s widespread violations documented by FMCSA and its partners during roadside inspections,” the federal agency said.

The violations included employing drivers who did not have CDLs and were prohibited from working for carriers in the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, using drivers without any records of duty status and allowing drivers to violate roadside out-of-service conditions.

While Texas Interstate Express was being investigated, the carrier shifted its operations over to Pac Express. 

Texas Interstate Express had already been issued an out-of-service order for failing to comply with an investigation. The FMCSA did not specify when the carrier was issued an out-of-service order.

“In signed statements, two of Texas Interstate Express’ drivers stated to FMCSA that motor carrier officials at Texas Interstate Express and Pac Express instructed them to disregard being placed out of service for hours-of-service (HOS) violations and continue on with trips after the roadside inspectors were no longer monitoring them,” the agency said. “The same two drivers stated that they were also instructed to avoid inspections and bypass scales and that they would be dispatched on trips that could not be made within HOS rules and without speeding.”

FMCSA said Pac Express did not have programs to detect drivers’ use of controlled substances, ensure they were qualified and licensed, control their hours of service and ensure company vehicles were appropriately inspected and repaired. 

Officials for both companies did not immediately respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment.

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