An Athens-based trucking company has been ordered to cease operations by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

The decision to shut down BM&L Trucking, LLC, was based on serious safety violations “that posed an imminent hazard to public safety,” according to a release from the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.


In addition to naming BM&L, the order also individually names Isaac McWilliams, Heronda McWilliams and IDM Transportation, Inc. An online trucking directory lists the company’s address at 27631 Azalea Trail in Athens.


The News Courier called the number listed for the company, but the person who answered hung up the phone.


The release said FMCSA immediately put BM&L Trucking out of service after safety investigators found a range of safety infractions that substantially increased the likelihood of serious injury to the traveling public.


For example, investigators discovered that the company did not conduct pre-employment drug screenings of its drivers. The company also operated vehicles that had serious mechanical defects, and were not regularly inspected and repaired.


“This case is an example of our resolve to raise the bar for commercial vehicle and roadway safety,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “There is no place on our roads for commercial truck companies and drivers that do not make safety a top priority.”


The shutdown order said an investigation into the company was completed on May 11, which uncovered violations “so widespread as to demonstrate a continuing and flagrant general disregard for compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.”


The report also characterized the company’s operations as “reckless, with its management unable to accurately provide investigators with the number of commercial motor vehicles it owns, leases, or otherwise operates, and drivers it employs or uses.”


The release said an extensive review also found multiple federal safety violations in the areas of hours-of-service compliance, driver qualifications and vehicle maintenance.


“When commercial truck companies and their drivers disregard the safety rules of the road, they place all motorists at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will continue to exhaust every available tool to identify and swiftly shut down unsafe truck companies.”